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Garner's Daughter Stages "Die-in"


Erica Garner held a vigil and “die-in” on Staten Island Thursday in memory of her father, the 43-year-old who died while being taken into NYPD custody earlier this year.

After gathering on Bay Street in St. George for a vigil, protesters marched to the corner of Bay Street and Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville where Garner died and lay down in the road.

Protesters were also gathering at Union Square Park in Manhattan for a march to Police Plaza. 

Thursday marks the eighth consecutive day of protests in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on widely watched amateur video wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck during the July 17 confrontation as the asthmatic father of six gasped, “I can’t breathe!” nearly a dozen times.

The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide by chokehold. Garner's health issues, including obesity, were listed as contributing factors in the autopsy. In delivering a "no true bill" vote last week, the grand jury found there was no probable cause Pantaleo committed either manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, the two charges sources familiar with the case told NBC 4 New York the jurors were considering. 

Pantaleo met with NYPD internal affairs investigators Wednesday and answered questions for about two hours, his lawyer said. The officer and the police union say Pantaleo didn't use a chokehold, which is forbidden under NYPD policy, but a takedown move taught by the department.

Pantaleo said in a statement shortly after the grand jury decision was announced that he became a police officer to help people.

"It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner," he said. "My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”

A federal investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, protests took place in and outside the Barclays Center Monday night as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a Brooklyn Nets game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While a group of protesters staged a "die-in" outside the arena, Cavaliers players' LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, along with multiple Nets players, wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts as they warmed up before the game.

New York City Council members staged a "die-in'' on the steps of City Hall earlier in the day.


Red Ribbon Campaign Raises Awareness of Drunk Driving


Mother Against Drunk Driving and representatives from the American Medical Response joined Hartford city officials Thursday to kick off the Red Ribbon Campaign, raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving during the holiday season.

“It asks folks to tie a red ribbon on their vehicle that asks folks not to drink and drive during the holiday season and throughout the year,” explained Janice Heggie Margolis of MADD.

The campaign is dedicated this year to Donovan Alden, the paramedic who was killed in a drunk driving crash in West Hartford in March.

“He truly was innocent and didn’t have an instant to fight back,” said Steven Osuch, Alden’s best friend.

Police said 33-year-old Karen Torres of New Britain was behind the wheel and that her blood alcohol was twice the legal driving limit on the night of crash.

Ambulance company AMR is teaming up with MADD to help prevent similar tragedies.

“Our goal is to strengthen the partnership with mothers against drunk driving and educated the public about the consequences and widespread effects it has on the widespread community,” said AMR spokesperson Chris Chaplin.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said Hartford police will be cracking down on drunk drivers.

“We want people to enjoy the holidays but we don’t want people to drive if they have consumed alcohol,” he said.

Truck Slams Into Utility Pole in Newington


Stoddard Avenue is closed between Main and Lloyd streets in Newington after a pickup truck lost control and slammed into a utility pole, splitting the pole and pushing it onto a string of overhead power lines.

Footage from the scene shows the severed pole balanced precariously on the front end of the truck. Crews from Connecticut Light & Power are working to remove the pole and make repairs.

Police at the scene said the driver was not hurt. Authorities expect the road to stay closed for a while.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Residents Fight Oxford Power Plant Proposal


Three dozen residents of the Oxford area protested the plan to build a power plant in the area, citing health concerns and decreasing property values.

Protesters chanted "No power plant" at a meeting of the Connecticut Siting Commission, which is considering Competitive Power Ventures' proposed changes to a certificate issued 15 years ago allowing the company to build on a rural site near a business park.

The natural gas facility would provide electricity for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents, but protesters argued that the area has seen significant changes over the past decade.

The design has been delayed on several occasions, but now CPV wants to nearly double the capacity of the original design which could provide energy for more than 750,000 people.

“Oxford is a different place today than it was back then,” said one resident. “There are residential neighborhoods now and there was nothing like that near the site back then.”

A golf course has also been built near the proposed site.

Ten-year Oxford resident Ruth Schiff contends that a facility that burns natural gas could lead to toxins being released into the air.

“I love the clean air and I love the people,” Schiff said of the community she’s grown to call home.

Critics of the plant have also argued that it could lead to economic hardship in the area.

“I think it’s going to bring down property values. I think that people are going to be discouraged from moving anywhere near the power plant and probably anywhere in these towns because it’s going to make a difference,” Schiff said.

Company officials said the opposition is overblown.

In a statement provided to NBC Connecticut, Yanina Daigle, who handles external affairs for the company, said the pros and cons of the idea of a plant has already been debated and now it’s about getting the project off the ground.

“We believe in that process, and while we disagree with the positions being advocated by the opponents, we look forward to a thorough review by the CSC of our request for an amendment to improve upon our existing certificate,” Daigle said.

Daigle responded to claims that the plant could hurt nearby ecosystems and harm the surrounding areas by explaining that “this project, when built, will be among the cleanest conventional generating facilities in the world and will provide significant benefits to electric utility customers, Oxford and surrounding towns, the State and the environment.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Republicans Stick With Chairman Labriola


Connecticut Republican Party chairman Jerry Labriola will hold onto his job for the final six months of his second term after coming under fire in the weeks following the November elections.

The Connecticut Republican Party Central Committee's 72 members met in Manchester on Thursday and opted to allow Labriola to finish out his term.

Labriola's leadership was called into question after Connecticut Republicans were shut out in all statewide races this year.

The party’s silver lining was that it picked up 10 seats in the Connecticut House of Representatives and one seat in the Connecticut Senate, but Republicans remain in the minority.

Two candidates had even made public their plans to run for party chairman in the event of a vacancy: Sen. Joe Markley and J.R. Romano. who managed the campaign for Republican treasurer candidate Tim Herbst.

GOP sources began to blame Labriola for the poor showing at the top of the ticket, which featured Republican Tom Foley in a second straight election.

However, over the past week, the vitriol that appeared to be directed at Labriola, it turned out, came from more of a vocal minority.

Connecticut Republican Party communications director Zak Sanders said the party's policy is not to comment on meetings such as the one held Thursday.

“There was a healthy discussion about this year’s elections and strategies for growing our party and moving forward,” he said.

Mary Ann Turner, who sits on the Connecticut GOP Central Committee said, said the party isn’t about just the chairman.

“Jerry Labriola is just the head of the party just like I’m the head of the town committee,” Turner said.

She added that as much of the blame for the poor election results falls on the shoulders of the entire committee.

“We have to take responsibility. We’re not there just to just go hang around and enjoy each other’s company which is nice,” Turner said.

Turner, who has worked as a communications professional for decades, said the state party has to pick a brand and message and stick with it.

She said she knows that there are ways the party can identify with Connecticut residents that could lead to election victories. Turned conceded that she's not sure what that message would be but said looking for it should start with Republicans who have been involved with winning races.

“You go to the guy who’s making the product and ask them how do you make it better? He’ll tell you. And if you stop and you listen and you’re good managers, that’s how you’ll make the change. That’s where the change is. It’s on the ground. We’re not doing that,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

West Haven Clashes Over Removal of Tree on Green


A circle of dirt shows where a maple tree once stood on the West Haven green.

It was taken down last month after a licensed arborist told the city that the maple was dead and created a hazard on the green.

“The arborist said [he] and his son, who's also a licensed arborist, and the tree warden, inspected this tree and deemed it an immediate public hazard,” said West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien.

O'Brien said he first learned of the tree's condition when someone filed a report about branches falling on picnic tables. One woman told NBC Connecticut a branch hit her leg while she was visiting the food trucks parked on the green.

“There was a big gaping hole in it. There were no leaves,” explained O’Brien.

The West Haven Tree Commission is upset it wasn't consulted before the tree came down. The commission members are appointed by the mayor to enhance and preserve trees in the city.

In a letter to the mayor and other city officials, the commission said it can't understand why a living 80-year-old tree was removed and why the Tree Commission wasn't contacted in the summer when the tree troubles first occurred.

"The city has a formal process for tree removals, regardless of where they're located, parks versus street trees, and that process was not followed," said Tree Commission chairwoman Michelle Matteo.

O'Brien said the safety hazard posed by the tree required immediate action.

“I think the Tree Commission should be contacted on a normal course of events, if this tree was not a public hazard, if we weren't having people walk around the green, if it wasn't a hazard to safety. In that case the Tree Commission should be contacted, but the Tree Commission is contacted by the Tree Warden,” said O’Brien.

The Tree Commission also believes the tree was removed to put an amusement ride in its place during the city’s tree lighting ceremony, but O’Brien said that was not the case.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Elf Brings Holiday Spirit to Elm City


Forget Elf on the Shelf. New Haven has its own little creature creating some fun in the Elm City.

“Elfie, the Elm City Elf, is a really fun way to get people around for the holidays,” said Win Davis, executive director of the Town Green District.

Each day, Elfie puts an elf mug in a restaurant or store in New Haven and then gives clues to its whereabouts on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

One of Thursday’s clues was, "An Italian with a modern twist that is dedicated to organic!"

“If they happen to find the Elm City Elf, they get a commemorative mug and they get listed as one of our winners for a retail promotion,” said Davis.

Elm City Elf, which runs through Dec. 23, is a collaborative effort between the Town Green District, Market New Haven and the city with the goal of getting customers out to local retailers.

Claire's Corner Copia already had an Elfie stop.

“You get people thinking about hmm, could it be that place? Hmm, could it be that place? It makes them start thinking about it, and it also lets them, the clues help them relate to the business,” said Claire Criscuolo, owner of Claire’s Corner Copia.

She also said people get pretty competitive trying to find the mug.

“One of the little boys found it last year, came in with his big sister, again, and they were hunting like bloodhounds,” said Criscuolo.

Dad to Serve 14 Years Behind Bars in Shaken Baby Case


A 25-year-old dad who pleaded guilty to shaking and killing his crying 2-month-old son in New London last year will spend 14 years behind bars.

Adam Browne was sentenced in court Thursday to 20 years in prison. His sentence will be suspended after Browne serves 14 years. He will spend the following five years on probation, according to the court clerk.

Browne pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in October under the Alford doctrine, meaning he did not agree with all the allegations but didn't want to risk a harsher sentence if convicted at trial. He initially pleaded not guilty.

According to police, Browne was watching his son Jovanni at home in New London on Oct. 25, 2013 when he shook the baby, who wouldn't stop crying. Jovanni suffered a serious brain injury and died the next day.

Jovanni's mother and Browne's girlfriend at the time, Margaret Chapman, said her 4-year-old twins are struggling to come to grips with their brother's death.

In a written statement read in court Thursday, Chapman said she lost her job after Jovanni's death and moved from the family home because her twins were scared to go back.

"I am Jovanni's mother and I have no choice but to go on without him, having to wonder how amazing he would be, what he would like like," she read, according to a clerk who was present for the sentencing. "The chance to hold him was taken from me."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Counselors on Hand After Death of Suffield Teen


Grief counselors are on hand at Suffield High School to help students deal with the death of a 17-year-old classmate who was struck by a car while getting the mail outside his home on Wednesday night. 

Kevin Vitale, a 17-year-old junior at Suffield High, was struck by a car while crossing Mapleton Avenue in Suffield around 6 p.m. Wednesday to get the mail, according to police.

Vitale was a member of the Best Buddies program and was an active member of the school community, Suffield Supt. Karen Baldwin said in a letter to parents and guardians on Thursday.  

Baldwin said school counselors, psychologists and a social worker will be available to high school students and a schedule of weekend hours will be posted on school district's website.

The school is also offering resources for grief and loss to help parents speak with their children.

The driver who struck Vitale, a woman, stayed at the scene and is cooperating with police. No charges have been filed, and police said a mixture of rain, sleet and snow was coming down at the time so weather conditions may have been a factor.

A GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for Vitale's family has collected more than $200.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/GoFundMe

3 Dead in Dallas High-Rise Blaze


A 3-alarm fire erupted in a Dallas high rise Thursday morning, killing three workers, injuring three other people and forcing the evacuation of thousands of office workers, fire officials say.

The three subcontractors killed in the fire were working in a thermal storage tank that is part of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit in the basement of the building, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said during a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Two of the victims killed were Nicacio and Luis Carrillo, an uncle and nephew, NBC 5 has confirmed.

Three other people were sent to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, though it's not yet known where they were in the building when the fire started.

Evans said they thought there might be workers close to where the fire was located but that heat and visibility kept them from reaching the area more quickly. He added that thick smoke and flames adjacent to an electrical facility near the storage tank led them to believe the fire was electrical, but that now they aren't sure where it began or how.

Because DFR initially believed the fire to be electrical, firefighters had to wait for the power to be disconnected before attacking the flames or risk being shocked or electrocuted.

Once the fire was out and the smoke was cleared, the bodies of the three men were found inside the 35-foot storage tank, fire officials said. According to officials, the men, who were subcontractors for Best Mechanical, did have safety equipment and emergency procedures.

At this time officials have not said what killed the three men. Their bodies will be transported to the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office who will determine their causes of death.

Questions Raised About Safety Permits

Our colleagues at The Dallas Morning News are reporting that Assistant Fire Chief Ted Padgett said the tower's permit for welding, cutting and hot works expired in March and that the contractor doing business at the tower hasn't had a valid permit for that kind of work since December 2009.

Officials have not confirmed if the men in the tank were doing work that would have required such a permit.

Fire Reported at Dallas High Rise

At about 10 a.m. Thursday initial reports indicated smoke was coming from the B2 level garage of the 50-story Thanksgiving Tower.

For more than an hour more than a dozen DFR apparatus and what appeared to be hundreds of firefighters were seen in the streets adjacent to the building.

A belief that the fire was electrical in nature delayed firefighters from being able to attack the flames until the power was cut off to the area.

At about 11:20 a.m. officials said the fire had been extinguished, though it took some time before large fans could clear the garage of dangerous smoke.

High Rise Evacuated After Report of Fire

A worker at the building confirmed to NBC 5 that the entire building had been evacuated with hundreds of people climbing down the tower in stairwells. Another caller said evacuated workers who drove to the building were unable to leave since their cars were parked in the garage and were inaccessible.

For those taking mass transit, DART reported only slight delays to bus traffic in the area due to closed roads; light rail remained on schedule.

About the Tower

Thanksgiving Tower, at 1601 Elm Street, is a 50-story, 600-foot high rise at the edge of the Arts District overlooking Thanksgiving Square.

It is among the tallest buildings in downtown and is bound by Elm Street, Ervay Street and Pacific Avenue in Downtown Dallas.

The tower has recently been undergoing a major $18 million renovation that was to be completed in late 2015, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

Twitter Updates From the Scene

NBC 5's Jocelyn Lockwood and Ray Villeda contributed to this report. We will update this story with more information as soon as it's available.  As this story is developing, elements may change.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Oil Slick Threatens NJ Bay Seals


A large oil slick is threatening New Jersey's Sandy Hook Bay, and authorities fear the sheen could endanger the population of seals that migrate there each winter, the U.S. Coast Guard and parks officials told NBC 4 New York Thursday.

Oil from the 2-mile-long, 400-foot-wide slick started washing up on parts of the shoreline Thursday afternoon, though the source of the spill is unclear.

The Coast Guard worked into the night setting up a boom over a culvert in an effort to catch the oil before it could reach the environmentally sensitive, and popular horseshoe cove tidal marsh.

Great and harbor seals are known to migrate to Sandy Hook Bay, and the National Park Service says the animals have already moved there for the season.

Officials at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine said the food supply for the seals could be compromised. If fish ingest the oil, the officials explained, and a seal eats enough of those fish, the seal could die.

Officials said the oil sheen also threatens the sea water intake pipe for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries lab on Sandy Hook.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Pedestrian Struck on I-91 North in New Haven


Police are responding to Interstate 91 northbound in New Haven after a pedestrian was struck on the highway between exits 5 and 6.

State police said the pedestrian was injured but could not elaborate on the person's condition.

The circumstances surrounding the crash are unclear.

Two lanes are closed in the area of the crash but traffic is getting by slowly.

Check back for updates.

Hamden Man Robbed Victim, Shot Him in the Eye: Police


Police have arrested the man accused of robbing and shooting a victim in the eye in New Haven last week.

Robert Miller, 29, was arrested Thursday in connection with the Dec. 7 incident. Police said he shot a 28-year-old Hamden resident during an apparent robbery in the area of Osborn Avenue and Goffe Street shortly late that night.

The victim told investigators the criminal stole his money, then pulled him from his car and shot him in the face. He said the suspect stole his car, a white four-door Nissan Altima, which police found shortly thereafter.

Miller has been charged with first-degree assault and weapons charges, along with other violations. It's not clear if he has also been charged in the car robbery.

Newtown Student Sends Shoes to Developing Countries


A Newtown middle school student is proving that you're never too young to effect change.

Seventh grader Connor Vignola is collecting shoes for those in need and trying to make a difference in a town that has suffered.

"I like helping people and I think this is a great way to do that," Connor said.

He's only 12 years old, but there's no end in sight to Connor's ambition. With help from funds2orgs, which partners with schools and non-profits to raise money, Connor is collecting shoes and distributing them to people in developing countries.

"I've always wanted to make a change in the world and this organization would help me," Connor said. "It's helping them start a business and learn how economics will affect their life. My goal is 10,000 pairs."

Already, he has collected 450 pairs of shoes to donate.

"I kind of miss my garage now that it's winter and it's filling up with shoes," Connor's father, Eric Vignola, joked.

Vignola said the learning experience will prove invaluable for his son, who is observing first-hand "how you can create change and you can do things that are a little more substantial."

The project carries extra weight given the tragic events the Newtown community has overcome since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School two years ago.

"It's been tough for these past almost two years and I try to put my mind off of it and think of the better things," Connor said.

His father said the key is to put one foot in front of the next and remember the good that can come out of such darkness.

"You focus on the positive and that's one of the things that I share with him," Vignola said.

Connor is still asking for more gently used shoes to be donated at Newtown Middle School as well as at the Board of Education office.

The Board of Education has recognized Connor with a certificate of achievement.

Thieves Steal From Cars at Manchester Funeral Home


Police are searching for two people who stole purses from cars parked outside a Manchester funeral home during a wake and cashed checks worth thousands of dollars.

According to police, the suspects broke into cars at the John F. Tierney funeral home on West Center Street while their owners attended a wake on Dec. 7. Police said the culprits took purses and withdrew more than $7,400 from one resident's bank account.

"We were there with my family mourning the loss and I had gone out to leave and looked down into my car," explained Cromwell resident Lisa Delano. "When I reached for the handle, I saw that there was glass on my seat and thought maybe my sunroof had broke [sic]. I looked up and saw that my window was smashed, then looked down and saw my purse was gone."

Delano, who was attending the wake of a family friend, said she lost "everything" in the burglary – her credit cards, check book, cash and house keys.

She was the first one to realize the mourners had been targeted and went back into the funeral home to alert other people attending the wake.

"It totally turned everything into chaos, total chaos, because now everyone is worried about who got broken into. We're already in mourning and now there's all kinds of craziness going on," she recalled.

Now police are searching for the man and woman behind the break-ins. Authorities have described the suspects as a man with a beard and brown hair and a woman with dirty blond hair and glasses. Police said both appear to be in their 20s and were last seen driving in a blue four-door sedan.

"You really can't express the emotion. It was just horrible," Delano said.

She added that the decision to leave her purse in the car was a "bad choice" but said she didn't want to be holding it and worrying about it while hugging everyone at the wake.

"Don't leave your purses in the car," she advised.

Police are asking for help identifying the suspects. Anyone with information is urged to call Manchester police at 860-645-5500.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Manchester Police Department
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Cop Disciplined Amid Protest


Chicago police say an officer will be disciplined after video captured a CPD vehicle blasting "Sweet Home Alabama" during a "Black Lives Matter" protest in Chicago.

Police said Thursday the officer came forward, but did not specify what disciplinary action would be taken.

"While he says he was playing the music as fan of the University of Alabama, CPD fully understands sensitivities related to the song and regardless we cannot condone any behavior that may be viewed as disruptive or disrespectful to any protestor or resident," a statement from police said. "To the contrary, as you have seen over the past couple weeks, CPD is dedicated to ensuring residents' right to free speech and peaceful assembly."

Photographer Gabriel Michael said demonstrators were near the intersection of Pulaski and Monroe at the end of the march over the weekend when the unmarked squad car rolled by loudly playing the Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem.

“I realized the music was coming from a cruiser, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.

That’s when he began recording.

“My brain couldn’t process,” he said. “They were playing this song at a protest for black lives—Mike Brown, Eric Garner. A song co-opted by conservative southern bigoted groups as a kind of rallying cry for Confederate and racist values.”

The controversial 40-year-old song is an ode to Alabama and a retort to Neil Young's "Southern Man," a song about racism in the south. It has also been the target of criticism over the years for what some interpret as support for former Alabama governor and segregationist George Wallace, which Skynyrd's singer Ronnie van Zant called a misinterpretation.

Michael noted that the University of Alabama played Missouri on Saturday and the song is often associated with the team, but said no matter the reason, playing the song during the march may be an example of the distance between police officers and the community.

“It made me think of how desensitized these cops were to think it was funny to be playing that,” Michael said. “I’d like to know what their explanation is, why they did it.”

Photo Credit: Michael Gabriel

2 Hartford Firefighters Appear in Court on Unrelated Charges


Two Hartford firefighters appeared in court on Friday in two unrelated cases.

Jeffrey Vendetta, 43, was in court to answer to drunken driving charges and Justin Wood, 25, was in court briefly in connection with an accidental shooting.

Police said Vendetta hit a car on Farmington Avenue in Farmington on Nov. 13 and fled the scene. When police located him, his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, police said.

He has been charged with driving under the influence, evading responsibility, restricted turns and following too close. His case has been continued to Jan. 12.

Wood is accused of accidentally shooting a friend in the jaw and neck at an apartment on Webster Street shortly after midnight on Nov. 2 while he was with friends.

He has been charged with reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Both firefighters are on paid administrative leave.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Masked Man With Gun Robs Plainville Bank


A masked man with a gun robbed a Plainville bank on Thursday night and fled with the cash.

Police said the robbery happened at the American Eagle Federal Credit Union on New Britain Avenue around 6 p.m.

The man showed a gun, demanded that the employees hand over money and did not injure anyone, police said.

Police are looking for a 5-feet-8-inch-tall man with an eastern European accent. He was wearing a dark jacket with a gray hood and a dark baseball cap.

Anyone with information should call Detective Marc Rivard at 860-747-1616.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Evidence Barred in Hernandez Trial


Former New England Patriot player Aaron Hernandez was back in a Fall River, Massachusetts, courtroom Friday, charged with murdering semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.

Lloyd's body was found in a North Attleboro industrial park, near Hernandez's home, back in June of 2013.

In court, Judge Susan Garsh made a number of rulings in Hernandez's favor.

For starters, prosecutors won't be able to tell the jury about a 2012 Boston double homicide, in which Hernandez is also charged with two counts of murder.

Prosecutors have said Hernandez may have shown Lloyd the spot where the shootings allegedly took place, and that was possible motive for his killing.

"We're talking about 3 people getting killed and a 4th getting shot between the eyes in 11 months all involving this defendant," said Bristol County Prosecutor William McCauley.

The Judge also ruled the final text messages Lloyd sent to his sister won't be allowed into trial, nor a TMZ photo of Hernandez which shows him holding a gun.

The text messages are important because prosecutors say Lloyd sent them while in a car with Hernandez and two others the night of the murder, and say they show that Lloyd had become fearful of Hernandez.

One text said, "u saw who I'm with," a follow up said "NFL," a third said "just so u know."

Hernandez's lawyers, though, argued the text messages didn't mean Lloyd was scared, but rather was bragging about who he was with.

"It's a totally innocuous message, it doesn't suggest, you saw who I'm with, it doesn't indicate fear, it doesn't indicate a cry for help," said Hernandez defense attorney James Sultan

NECN Legal Editor Randy Chapman says the Judge excluded the text messages because she felt that the statement that I'm with NFL was speculative."

Judge Garsh also said prosecutors can't introduce the shooting of Alexander Bradley, a former associate of Hernandez, who's filed a civil suit against Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the eye.

"I think today Aaron Hernandez certainly walked away feeling as though he got justice. I certainly believe the defense counsel got almost everything they were looking for in terms of whittling down this evidence to exactly what happened that night," said Chapman.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all three murders.

Chapman says prosecutors can now seek an appeal of the Judge's decisions, possibly delaying the January trial date.

Photo Credit: NECN

Cops: Craigslist Robbery Victim Had a ”Bad Feeling”


The victim of an armed robbery told Hartford police he had a “bad feeling” before men he thought he was selling tires to pulled a gun and robbed him.

Police responded to 38-40 Redding Street in Hartford at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday to investigate an armed robbery and met with the victim, who said he was robbed after someone contacted him through Craigslist, expressing interest in buying four tires he was selling.

When the victim arrived to make the sale, he had a bad feeling, he told police, then one of the people he was meeting with pulled out a silver revolver and demanded the tires, his cell phone and money.

After running up the street, the victim called the police.

Major Crimes Division is investigating. The man who had the gun had a goatee and was wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The other was clean shaven and was wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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