1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was a hit on Wednesday during a pro-am event at the 2015 Phoenix Open as he earned $40,000 for his charity by winning a closest-to-the-pin contest on the famed par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. Tebow’s shot fell approximately 11 feet away from the hole and drew solid applause from the crowd in attendance. Participating in the event alongside former Florida coach Urban Meyer and professional golfer Patrick Reed, Tebow was a favorite of many in attendance, including former Gators running back Emmitt Smith. Smith’s group (fourth) finished one spot ahead of Tebow’s team (tied for fifth) in the pro-am.
— Emmitt Smith (@EmmittSmith22) January 29, 2015
2 » Nineteen months after the fact, former tight end Aaron Hernandez will stand trial Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. The trial, which is expected to last into April, will begin Thursday with opening statements and be overseen by a jury of 12 men and women. Since OnlyGators.com last wrote about Hernandez, a number of major developments have occurred.
First, it is believed prosecutors may have convinced Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, to testify; the Massachusetts state attorneys claim to have proof she assisted in covering up the incident and may have cut a deal with her to convince her to waive her immunity and take the stand. Second, a significant amount of evidence has already been thrown out as it was ruled inadmissible for a variety of reasons. Additionally, the jury is not going to be allowed to hear about the other incidents Hernandez has been named as a participant in, including the alleged double murder in Boston, alleged shooting of his friend in Florida and alleged gun-trafficking.
Third, the police, investigators and the prosecution have all been unable to find the murder weapon, which is not a requirement in receiving a “guilty” verdict but nevertheless an important piece. The defense has argued extensively that the prosecution’s case is completely circumstantial without a solid amount of evidence tying Hernandez to the murder. Fourth, Hernandez can be found guilty of first-degree murder even if the prosecution does not prove he was the shooter due to Massachusetts’ “joint venture” law. Hernandez is being billed as a “mastermind” behind the murder and not specified as the shooter for this very reason.
Fifth, if all else fails, Hernandez’s lawyers may argue that his client’s actions – if he was deemed to have done anything wrong – were not his own fault as he was supposedly an abuser of angel dust (PCP). Sixth, former teammates, coaches and administrators that worked with Hernandez are expected to be called to testify. Who those will be and when they will be called are anyone’s guess at this time. Seventh, Hernandez will likely remain in jail no matter what judgment is made on the first-degree murder charge as he still faces three additional gun charges as part of this case and has been indicted for a 2012 double murder in Boston in a separate case. That latter case will go to trial once the former case is settled in court.