By Jenny Wilson
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of the boyfriend of his girlfriend’s sister.
Hernandez, who was released by the Patriots shortly after his arrest, was arraigned Wednesday and held without bail.
At his arraignment, a prosecutor recited a list of facts he said point to Hernandez’s involvement in the June 17 slaying, including Hernandez’s anger with the victim, the fact that videos show Hernandez’s rented car in the area of where the victim was shot and that Hernandez was seen in another video walking into his home with a gun after the homicide.
Odin Lloyd, 27, was shot five times, including twice in the chest while he was on the ground, the prosecutor said. The shell casings were found in the car by police and all matched one gun. The gun, however, has not been found.
In addition to murder, Hernandez was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a large capacity firearm, among other charges.
Hernandez had texted a friend from Connecticut hours before the murder, the prosecution alleges.
Prosecutor William McCauley said in court that Lloyd’s last text messages to the sister were “guess who i’m with” and “nfl.”
Defense attorney Michael Fee had asked that Hernandez be returned to his home because he is not a flight risk. Fee also said police did not have a warrant on some of the searches. He called the state’s case “circumstantial and weak.” The arrest warrant in the case was sealed.
The arrest came after days of speculation about the fate of Hernandez, who has been under investigation for a possible role in the slaying.
After the arrest, the Patriots announced his release.
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation,” the Patriots said in a statement. “We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
A Massachusetts State Police dive team spent an hour and a half Monday searching the stream that appears to run along back of Hernandez’s house. Four officers wearing full body black dive suits searched the stream with metal detectors. It was unclear if anything was found.
On Saturday, police spent nearly four hours at Hernandez’s house. Some officers carried paper bags of unidentified items out of the home. Two K-9 units also searched the house Saturday. Police searched the backyard, and searched and photographed Hernandez’s SUV. A locksmith also spent time in the house.
Hernandez and the victim, Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, had been together at several nightclubs last weekend, including the night before Lloyd’s body was found less than a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.
Lloyd’s body was found in a vacant lot off John L. Dietsch Boulevard, an industrial park area. Lloyd reportedly left a club with two men, including Hernandez, late on June 16 or early June 17, but only two men returned to Hernandez’s home.
Reports indicate a jogger found Lloyd’s body at 5:30 p.m. on June 17 and that a vehicle rented in Hernandez’s name was nearby. According to reports by SI.com, Lloyd died between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on June 17.
Lloyd was a linebacker for the semi-pro Boston Bandits. He was dating the sister of Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s girlfriend and mother of his child, at the time of Lloyd’s death.
©2013 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
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PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): FBN-HERNANDEZ