After almost two months of testimony, the Aaron Hernandez murder trial is finally coming to a close. The former New England Patriots player's defense team called all of their witnesses on Monday, closing arguments by both the prosecution and the defense were presented on Tuesday, and the jury began their first full day of deliberations on Wednesday.
Since the trial started at the end of January, members of the media present at the proceedings have been tweeting out every detail of the trial. Trial-followers on Twitter are reading these tweets and actively debating the possibility of a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict. However, Hernandez's guilt or innocence isn't the only case-related discussion happening on Twitter.
A search for the hashtag #AaronHernandez will reveal that there is also an ongoing discussion about the jurors, with questions about why they weren't sequestered, and some doubt as to how much they knew about the case before the trial started. There is also speculation that jurors have been talking about, or researching the case online.
What are the odds that the jury in the #AaronHernandez trial have not done any research on the case and Aaron Hernandez?
— Sports Integrity (@Sportsintegrity) April 3, 2015
Hmm...after tomorrow, 4 days off in the #AaronHernandez trial. Gives the Jury more time to catch up on social media. — Robert's Tweets (@TweetsOfRobert) March 26, 2015From the onset of the trial, Judge Garsh has instructed the jury not to research the case or talk to anyone about the proceedings. Garsh's instructions throughout the trial were clear, and they repeatedly replied "no" when she asked if they have read, seen, or talked about anything to do with the Aaron Hernandez case.
Because the jury was not sequestered during the trial (or during deliberations), tweets related to how much the jury really knows may leave you wondering if it's possible that one or more jurors knows much more about this case than they should.
I would say 60% would steer clear. Would anyone every admit it? Could a conviction be overturned years later it was found out?@Plotkarazzo — Jim Wontell (@JimWontell) April 3, 2015
@Plotkarazzo I totally agree! You know they are checking their pages..Twitter would be the most damaging..Well and MSM! — Jolene (@Jolene5525) April 3, 2015In a day and age where anyone can view videotaped proceedings on YouTube — including hearings where jurors are not present — is it possible that jurors researched the case on their own time? The bigger question is, how would anyone find out if they did?
#AaronHernandez Hearing - February 18, 2015: http://t.co/o056G6aO4EThe jury initially started out with 18 members; three were dismissed. According to WHDH, one of the jurors was let go right before the trial started after being accused of "misrepresenting her answers" during the screening process in order to get on the jury.
— croakerqueen123 (@croakerqueen) February 18, 2015
A final jury of 12 members will now decide if Aaron Hernandez is guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd. How long the deliberations take, and how much the jury was influenced by social media — both before and during the case — may never be known.
Do you think jurors did any online research about the Aaron Hernandez case, or did they abide by the judge's orders?