Dan Wetzel

  • Aaron Hernandez's defense appears to be … none

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 6 hrs ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – Through 37 days of relentless prosecution, Aaron Hernandez's defense team has offered no alibis, little to no exculpatory evidence or any other tangible counter argument that the former New England Patriots star killed Odin Lloyd on June 17, 2013.

    Legally, of course, it doesn't have to provide anything like that, or even any defense at all. Hernandez is presumed innocent. The burden of proof is completely on the prosecution.

    Based on comments made by defense attorney James Sultan here at Bristol County Superior Court Tuesday, the defense strategy will simply be that the Commonwealth did not meet that burden.

    The prosecution is expected to rest on Thursday. The defense will get its turn on Monday, but Sultan told Judge E. Susan Garsh that he doesn't anticipate defense testimony to stretch more than a single day.

    "They will show you one side and one side only," Fee smoothly predicted in his opening argument back in January. "They will flood you with meaningless facts."

  • Aaron Hernandez lied to Patriots owner Robert Kraft about night of murder

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 10 hrs ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft likes to consider all of his employees as extended family.

    When he arrived at Gillette Stadium on the morning of June 19, 2013, he found a throng of media in the parking lot and news helicopters flying above. It was a sign that Aaron Hernandez, then just a murder suspect but now standing trial for the death of Odin Lloyd, was inside.

    Kraft made a beeline for the Patriots' weight room.

    There he found Hernandez, a star tight end, and pulled him into a side room for a man-to-man, heart-to-heart conversation. Kraft told Hernandez to look him in the eye and tell him if he was involved in the murder.

    "He said he was not involved, that he was innocent," Kraft testified Tuesday morning here at Bristol County (Mass.) Superior Court. "And he hoped that the time of the murder came out because I believe he said he was in a club."

    The prosecution is trying to prove Hernandez was the gunman who shot Lloyd six times in a field behind an industrial park in North Attleboro, Mass., at around 3:32 a.m. on June 17, 2013.

    That was immediately objected to by defense attorneys and struck by Judge E. Susan Garsh.

     

  • Aaron Hernandez trial: Fiancée drops bombshell that could have sprung former NFL star

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – The entire thing came out of nowhere, which may have been the defense strategy all along.

    Monday hadn't been going particularly well for Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star standing trial here for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

    His fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, had offered up a series of implausible stories about why on Hernandez's command she disposed of a box from their home (which the prosecution alleges contained the murder weapon) the day after Lloyd's body was found.

    Then came a late question on cross-examination from defense attorney Charles Rankin.

    Did you ever smell the box, he asked Jenkins?

    "I did," she testified.

    And what did it smell like?

    "Sort of like a skunky smell," she said, later noting she connected that smell with "marijuana."

    It was expected the defense would offer to jurors a theory of what was inside the box Jenkins ushered out of the house and disposed of in a mystery dumpster, the location of which she can't recall.

    Yet she didn't.

  • Aaron Hernandez trial: Fiancée's testimony almost impossible to believe

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – So if Monday's testimony from Shayanna Jenkins is to be believed, then this is what needs to be believed:

    It's the afternoon of June 18, 2013, a full day after her sister's boyfriend, Odin Lloyd, was found murdered in a field near the North Attleboro, Mass., home Shayanna shared with her boyfriend, NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

    Everything was crazy. Police had come to the house the night before and searched the backyard using flashlights. They'd spoken to Hernandez at the house and then met with him again down at the station. They'd even spoken briefly to Shayanna herself.

    Later, at Hernandez's request, she drove in the middle of the night, with her 8-month-old baby in the backseat, to the parking lot of a Rhode Island McDonald's and gave $500 to one of Hernandez's friends, Bo Wallace.

    All of this was suspicious enough that Jenkins acknowledged she directly asked Hernandez if he killed Lloyd. He answered no and she left it there.

    ____________________

    "So nothing was exposed I guess," Jenkins said.

  • Survivor's recourse: UK shows what happens when it gets pushed to the brink

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    CLEVELAND – Mike Brey leaned against a wall outside the Notre Dame postgame locker room and tried to process it all. He looked exhausted. He looked emotional. He looked like he needed a nap, a beer or most preferably a couple of both.

    "We. Just. Felt. We. Could. Win. The. Game," he said, each word hanging in the air, like he still wasn't sure how they hadn't, like he still couldn't wrap himself around the concept that the same loss that would likely haunt him forever might also go down as his greatest coaching achievement.

    Kentucky 68, Notre Dame 66 – what felt for 39:54 like one of the wildest rides March has ever seen, what could have been one of the most historic upsets of all time, instead just ended, just ended like that.

    Two clutch Andrew Harrison free throws, one long desperation Jerian Grant three and the improbable ended predictably, Kentucky at 38-0, storming the court in joy, headed to the Final Four. Notre Dame could only stare on in disbelief.

    "Very cruel," Brey said. "Because it ends so fast, man."

  • Aaron Hernandez trial: Tempers flare after fiancée's testimony

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports Commentary 4 days ago

    Let's say you are a young mother, home one summer night with your live-in boyfriend. Your 8-month-old baby is sleeping peacefully in the other room.

    Then, through the blinds in your bedroom, you see flashlights whipping around your backyard. The home security system shows a couple of men out there but your boyfriend doesn't seem concerned, or at least concerned enough to go confront them or call the cops.

    Eventually the men knock on your front door but your boyfriend won't answer. Finally he relents and it turns out the guys with flashlights are the police and they want your boyfriend to come down to the station for a chat.

    It's close to 11 p.m.

    Rather than let him drive himself or get a lift with the police, you get the baby up and drive him down there. After dropping him off, a couple more police want to talk to you as you sit in the car. Then your boyfriend calls and says to talk to his agent (your boyfriend happens to be a football star). After that, you stop talking to the police through the car window.

    Apparently not if you are Shayanna Jenkins.

    But could she really not even ask about this ?

    "No."

    Anything else?

    What comes then could determine everything.

  • Can Notre Dame beat Kentucky? Keep dreaming

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports Commentary 4 days ago

    CLEVELAND – Supposedly, West Virginia was going to rise up from some Appalachian hell mouth and unleash this full-court press that would leave mighty Kentucky bruised, befuddled and maybe even beaten. Or, that's what a lot of analysts said, or hoped, or wished, or something.

    The press. Did you know Bob Huggins is 8-2 against John Calipari? The press. Did we mention the press?

    They sounded so convincing that the West Virginia players started to believe them.

    "Tomorrow they're going to be 36-1," WVU's Daxter Miles Jr. predicted.

    Well, tomorrow came and Kentucky is 37-0. West Virginia is finding a country road to take them home after a 78-39 beatdown, and, really, the Mountaineers did nothing to cause shame. Even poor Daxter, who is guilty of nothing more than believing in himself.

    It's just that West Virginia wasn't beating Kentucky Thursday, Friday, tomorrow … maybe ever. If the teams played 10 times, Kentucky would win 14 of them. The Mountaineers were a team that maximized itself to get to the Sweet 16.

  • Aaron Hernandez's fate may be sealed Friday with the testimony of his fiancée

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    It's been more than two weeks since Shayanna Jenkins has been seen at the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, her high school boyfriend turned NFL star turned father of her 2-year-old daughter turned accused murderer, three times over.

    Bristol County (Mass.) prosecutors have piled up evidence that the former New England Patriots star murdered Odin Lloyd in 2013, from putting Hernandez in the same car as Lloyd the night he was killed to detailing a bullet casing found in the rental car Hernandez was driving. The one thing missing? The murder weapon.

    That's where Jenkins comes in. Or could come in.

    Jenkins' absence from court has only increased speculation on what, if anything, she'll say when called.

    Friday, we may find out. The Associated Press, citing anonymous sources, reports Jenkins will be called to the stand Friday at Fall River Justice Center. The 25-year-old is potentially the prosecution's star witness and may provide the trial's most explosive moments yet.

    (UPDATE: Shayanna Jenkins took the stand Friday morning. Stay tuned to Yahoo Sports for updates on her testimony.)

    If Jenkins identifies it as such, then this case is all but over.

  • NCAA's response to Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' law is perfect

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says the "Religious Freedom" bill he signed into law Thursday isn't about turning back the clock to old-time bigotry where you could refuse service to blacks at restaurants, set up drinking fountains for whites only or post a job opening alongside a sign with NINA painted on it – No Irish Need Apply.

    The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, responded with what most clear-minded people believe: that this law is about the state of Indiana protecting discrimination, effectively allowing businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs. As such, Emmert, whose organization is hosting the Final Four next weekend in Indianapolis where the NCAA is also headquartered, went far enough to threaten future events in the state and potentially moving their offices out of downtown Indianapolis.

    "The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement issued immediately after Pence signed the law. "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.

  • Perfect but not the best? Why UK's John Calipari was not named National Coach of the Year

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    The United States Basketball Writers Association named Virginia's Tony Bennett the National Coach of the Year on Monday.

    This is some lousy timing because Virginia was somewhat-handily eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Michigan State on Sunday. The award isn't supposed to be about one game, even one in the NCAA tournament, but it begs a few simple questions:

    What about John Calipari, you know, the coach of the 36-0 Kentucky Wildcats, odds-on favorite to win the national title and complete the first perfect season in nearly 40 years?

    Individual honors always feel like some kind of nod to history. Kentucky hasn't made it yet – next up: West Virginia in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. However, if the Wildcats win out, can we really have a 40-0 national title team and not have its coach be the Coach of the Year?

    Then there are procedural issues, such as why vote before the NCAA tournament is over, not to mention what exactly are the criteria for voting in the first place?

    First off, Tony Bennett did a terrific job this season. The Cavaliers finished 30-4 and won the ACC regular-season title. So, congratulations.

    This isn't about him or the work he put in.

    Calipari did not.