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Judge: Victim texts in Aaron Hernandez case not allowed

FALL RIVER, Mass. -- Prosecutors in a murder case against ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez won't be allowed to tell a jury about the final text messages sent by the victim to his sister, a judge ruled Friday.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Prosecutors say Lloyd sent the messages while in a car with Hernandez and suggested they showed he had become fearful. One said "U saw who I'm with." Defense lawyers called the texts innocuous and inadmissible.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 5. Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft have been listed by prosecutors as possible witnesses for the trial.

One pending issue in the case is a defense request that the judge bar prosecutors from telling the jury about evidence of the ex-player's other alleged crimes, including the fatal shootings of two Boston men in 2012 after an encounter at a nightclub. Hernandez, who is being held without bail, also has pleaded not guilty in those killings.

His attorneys say evidence about the double homicide and other alleged crimes would risk "undue prejudice" against Hernandez in the Lloyd case and compromise his right to a fair trial.

Prosecutors previously identified a range of so-called bad acts related to Hernandez, including the Boston homicides, firearms found at Hernandez's home and even a photograph obtained from the celebrity gossip website TMZ that depicts Hernandez holding a gun, according to a filing by Hernandez's lawyers. They called the list "cryptic."

Two other men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, also are facing murder charges in the Lloyd case, and Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, has been charged with perjury in connection with her grand jury testimony. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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