Defense May Call PCP Expert in Aaron Hernandez Trial

By Paul Gaita 01/15/15

Prosecutors want to ban the testimony of an expert on the effects of PCP and marijuana on the brain.

Aaron Hernandez

Prosecutors in the murder trial against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez have asked the presiding judge to prevent defense attorneys from calling in testimony about the effects of PCP on the brain in attempt to connect the drug with Hernandez’s alleged murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in 2013.

According to court records, the defense is seeking to call in Dr. David Greenblatt, a medical expert on marijuana and PCP, to provide testimony. The move is seen as an attempt to formulate a “diminished capacity” defense in order to show jurors that Hernandez, and co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz were mentally incapacitated at the time of the murder on June 17, 2013. However, Hernandez’s attorneys have not formally notified the prosecution that they will use such a defense, which is required by court rules.

Numerous media sources have cited stories that Hernandez used PCP and may have been addicted to the powerful dissociative drug, but there is no evidence that Hernandez had used it when Lloyd was killed. However, the prosecution did note that both Wallace and Ortiz had used PCP about 27 hours before the incident.

Regardless of that fact, prosecutors are urging Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh to ban Dr. Greenblatt’s testimony. In a statement from Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office, the prosecution wrote that “the defense seeks to mislead the jury by raising the boogey man of the illicit use of PCP without being able to show how it in any way has relevance to the events of the murder.”

Currently, the trial is in the first phase of jury selection with more than 1,000 prospective jurors completing a 51-question survey that asks, among other queries, whether they consider themselves Patriots fans or have attended any of the team’s games. Jury questioning is expected to commence this week.

The Lloyd case is just one of two murder charges Hernandez is currently facing; in addition to allegedly shooting Lloyd in an industrial park in 2013, he has also been indicted in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men in Dorchester, Mass.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.