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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Defense Wants Verdict In Vanderbilt Rape Trial Thrown Out

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Defense attorneys for Brandon Vandenburg are filing a motion to have the jury verdict thrown out after learning one juror wasn't forthcoming with information that he or she was the victim of sexual violence.

NewsChannel 5 has independently verified that juror was the victim of rape nearly two decades ago but never disclosed that information during the jury selection process. Defense attorneys now plan on filing a motion to have the jury vacated.

"It would've been useful to know this information in a case that had some of the same types of scenarios and allegations to which [the juror] had been a victim. It’s incredible they didn’t think that information was warranted," said Fletcher Long, who defended Brandon Vandenburg in the high-profile rape case.

"It could cause a mistrial, it could cost the entire case," he added.

Opening Statements in Aaron Hernandez Trial Delayed

Opening statements in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial have been delayed, though it wasn't immediately clear why.

The trial was supposed to get underway on Thursday morning after a two-day delay due to the blizzard. But opening statements have now been delayed.

Only 17 of the 18 jurors are in court, and there may be other issues as well. Voir dire, the process of selecting jurors, has now resumed. There is no word at this point whether opening statements are still scheduled to begin Thursday as scheduled.

Next pre-trial hearing date set for Hudson quadruple murder suspect Adam Matos

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - The next pre-trial hearing was scheduled Thursday morning for February 12 for quadruple murder suspect Adam Matos.

The hearing with Judge Mary Handsel was held at the Pasco County Courthouse in New Port Richey.

Matos is on trial for the grizzly murders of four people.  The victims were discovered decomposing September 4 in Hudson.

Matos' ex-girlfriend, Megan Brown, had been shot in the head.  Her father, Gregory Brown, was shot in the torso. Her mother, Margaret, had been beaten and strangled. A plastic bag was taped around her head.

Megan's new boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard, had been struck in the head with a hammer 21 times.

According to court documents, the state is seeking the death penalty for Matos.

What might Hernandez's fiancée say on the stand?

(CNN)Wearing a sparkling engagement ring, Shayanna Jenkins regularly attended pretrial hearings for her fiancé, Aaron Hernandez. He was often seen mouthing "I love you," to her.

But as opening statements and testimony get underway, will Jenkins' words help or hurt her fiancé if she takes the stand? Jenkins is on the prosecution's witness list.

"Normally, a fiancée is not going to testify adversely against her true love," said CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, a former New York City homicide prosecutor. But there is no privilege in Massachusetts allowing engaged couples to avoid testifying against one another.