Double-murder trial for ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez set to begin

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former National Football League star and convicted killer Aaron Hernandez is due back in a Boston courtroom on Tuesday for his second murder trial, this time on charges that he shot two men dead outside a nightclub after a dispute over a spilled drink.

Prosecution and defense lawyers are set to begin the lengthy process of selecting a jury from a pool of 600 candidates, a week after his former teammates paraded through the city to celebrate their fifth Super Bowl win.

SEE ALSO: Massachusetts 'Baby Doe' mother pleads guilty to murder-related charge

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke has set aside more than two weeks for jury selection, with prosecutors' opening statements not expected until March.

Hernandez, 27, is already serving a life sentence after another jury convicted him of fatally shooting an acquaintance, Odin Lloyd, in an industrial park near his North Attleborough, Massachusetts home in June 2013.

The athlete's fame will make it challenging to find jurors who have never heard of him, likely causing attorneys to instead seek people who had not followed his prior murder trial, said Robert Bloom, a professor at Boston College Law School.

That questioning would have to proceed delicately to avoid introducing the idea.

"You don't want to mention it so it would be a more open-ended question like, 'Have you ever heard of him and what have you heard about him,'" Bloom said.

The heavily tattooed tight end, who has pleaded not guilty, had been a rising star with a $41 million contract when he was arrested for Lloyd's slaying. The Patriots cut him hours after he was taken into custody.

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Aaron Hernandez murder trial
Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez is seen on his home security system carrying a weapon in an exhibit shown during his murder trial in Fall River, Massachusetts March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
A still image from surveillance video displayed in court shows former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez (L), visiting a gas station in Canton, the night Odin Lloyd was killed, during trial in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, February 26, 2015. Hernandez is charged in the murder of Lloyd in 2013. REUTERS/Charles Krupa/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL CRIME LAW)
Text messages between personal trainer Brian McDonough and former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, displayed as evidence at Hernandez's murder trial, at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, February 24, 2015. Hernandez is accused of the murder of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez sits during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Steven Senne/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
FALL RIVER, MA - APRIL 7: Closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial for the murder of Odin Llyod at Fall River Superior Court. Hernandez looks at the jurors as the alternates are being chosen. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - APRIL 7: Closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd at Fall River Superior Court. defense attorney James Sultan holds up a photo of Ernest Wallace in his closing argument, suggesting that Hernandez was present when Lloyd was killed by Wallace. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - APRIL 7: Closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial for the murder of Odin Llyod at Fall River Superior Court. Defense attorney James Sultan holds a photo of the murder scene during closing arguments. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - APRIL 7: Closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial for the murder of Odin Llyod at Fall River Superior Court. Hernandez wipes his face as he listens to the judge speak to the jury. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - MARCH 31: Aaron Hernandez, left, listens to testimony next to his attorney Charles Rankin as a photo of witness Darryl Hodge is displayed during the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez arrives in the courtroom at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts April 1, 2015. Hernandez is accused of the murder of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Ursula Ward, mother of the victim, reacts to the guilty verdict for former NFL player Aaron Hernandez during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is convicted of fatally shooting semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near Hernandez's Massachusetts home in June 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, listens during the murder trial for Hernandez at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is accused of fatally shooting semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near Hernandez's Massachusetts home in June 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
FALL RIVER, MA - MARCH 31: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft testifies during the murder trial for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - FEBRUARY 7: Hernandez appeared for a pre-trial hearing at Bristol County Superior Court. He chats with his lawyer Charles Rankin. Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriots player, pleaded not-guilty to murder and weapons charges related to the death of Odin Lloyd of Dorchester. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FALL RIVER, MA - APRIL 7: Closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial for the murder of Odin Llyod at Fall River Superior Court. Hernandez looks up as his defense attorney, James Sultan shows a video of Hernandez's home as he emerged from the basement. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ATTLEBORO, MA - JULY 24: Aaron Hernandez entered the court room. Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez appeared in Attleboro District Court in Attleboro, Mass. on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Judge Susan Garsh makes rulings about he potential testimony of prosecution witness Alexander Bradley without the jury present at the murder trial of former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts April 1, 2015. Hernandez is accused of the murder of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez stands with his defense attorneys as he hears his verdict in his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is convicted of fatally shooting semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near Hernandez's Massachusetts home in June 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez sits during his murder trial at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 6, 2015. REUTERS/Ted Fitzgerald/Pool
William Zane, of the Massachusetts state medical examiner's office, points to a mannequin while testifying about the location of bullet wounds in the body of Odin Lloyd during the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 2, 2015. Zane performed an autopsy on Lloyd's body. REUTERS/Steven Senne/Pool
Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez (L) listens as his attorneys confer during a hearing without the jury present in Hernandez' trial at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts April 1, 2015. Hernandez, 25, had a $41 million contract with the National Football League team but was dropped hours after his arrest in June, 2013 on murder and firearms charges in the death of Lloyd, who had been dating his fianc�'s sister. Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty, faces life in prison if convicted. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez (L) confers with attorney Charles Rankin during his murder trial in Fall River, Massachusetts, March 24, 2015. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd. REUTERS/Aram Boghosian/Pool
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Hernandez had been in custody for almost a year when prosecutors charged him with fatally shooting Cape Verdean nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012 outside a Boston nightclub, after one of the men accidentally spilled a drink on him.

Prosecutors plan to call as a witness a former friend of Hernandez's, Alexander Bradley, who was present on the night of Abreu and Furtado's slaying.

Hernandez is also charged with witness intimidation for having shot Bradley in the face. That incident cost Bradley an eye.

During Hernandez's first trial, which ran for four months in 2015, jurors heard that the native of Bristol, Connecticut, was a regular user of marijuana and sometimes the stimulant PCP who owned guns and at times acted paranoid, telling his friends he did not believe they appreciated the things he did for them.

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