Judge: Ex-NFL star Hernandez's tattoos may be shown at murder trial

BOSTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez's tattoos may be shown as evidence at his upcoming double-murder trial because they appear to refer to the killings at issue, a Massachusetts judge ruled.

Two of the heavily inked Hernandez's tattoos depict recently fired guns, one of which prosecutors contend is a reference to the 2012 double murder of two men outside a Boston nightclub, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke said in a ruling dated Monday and released on Tuesday.

Hernandez, 27, who was one of the NFL's top tight ends while playing for the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2012, already is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murdering an acquaintance in June 2013.

Aaron Hernandez's tattoos
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Aaron Hernandez's tattoos
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is arraigned on charges of murder and weapons violations in Attleborough, Massachusetts, after being arrested, June 26, 2013. Hernandez, a 23-year-old rising football star with the New England Patriots, was arrested by police in a murder investigation and fired by the team on Wednesday, another blot on the National Football League's tightly protected image. REUTERS/Mike George/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
The words "blood" and "sweat" are seen tattooed on the hands of former NFL New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, as he appears in court for a motion hearing in Attleborough, Massachusetts, August 30, 2013. Hernandez, accused of killing 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, will be arraigned September 6, in a Massachusetts Superior Court. Prosecutors say Hernandez and two other men drove Lloyd to an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez' house in North Attleborough on June 17 before shooting Lloyd five times, including twice while he lay on the ground. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's arm and tattoos are shown during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis January 31, 2012. The New York Giants will play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on February 5. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 27: New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez after practice. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 1: Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez holds his head in his heavily tattooed hand as he does a phone interview. Both the Patriots and the Giants held media availabilities today. New England's was held at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel, while New York's was held at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. The New England Patriots will meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ATTLEBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: A close up of Hernandez's tattoos. Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at Attleboro District Court indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Odin Lloyd, a Boston man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a North Attleborough industrial park in June. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

He is due to face trial next month on charges that he shot and killed two other men, Cape Verde nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, in May 2012 outside a Boston nightclub after one of them unwittingly spilled a drink on him.

One of his tattoos depicts a six-shot revolver with one empty chamber and the words "God Forgives" written in reverse, so that they can be read with a mirror. Hernandez is charged with firing five shots in the double slaying.

A second tattoo shows a smoking semi-automatic pistol and a spent shell casing. Hernandez is charged with the non-fatal shooting of a former friend in a separate incident that occurred on a trip to Florida.

Locke wrote that Hernandez getting the tattoos "could be viewed as constituting an implied admission."

It will not be the first time the tattoos have been visible in court. Even when wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt and jacket his tattoos can be seen on his hands and reporters at a 2015 court appearance noticed a new tattoo depicting a star and the word "lifetime" on his neck, high enough to be visible over the collar of a dress shirt.

Hernandez was a rising star in the league with a $41 million contract when he was arrested at his North Attleboro, Massachusetts, home in June 2013 and charged with murdering Odin Lloyd at an industrial park. He has said he is innocent of all charges.

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