NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will be back in court Thursday for a bail review hearing, a day after he was charged with murder in the death of a 27-year-old Dorchester man.
Hernandez was officially charged in Attleboro District Court Wednesday following his arrest at his home Wednesday morning. The ex-Patriot pleaded not guilty to six charges that include murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of a large capacity firearm.
At his arraignment Wednesday, prosecutors laid out a veritable mountain of evidence.
Bristol County first assistant district attorney William McCauley said Odin Lloyd was last seen alive with Hernandez at about 2:30 a.m. on June 17. Lloyd's body was later discovered in an industrial park less than a mile away from Hernandez's home.
McCauley said that Lloyd was found with multiple gunshot wounds, including two to his chest. Evidence suggests Lloyd was on the ground when he was shot. Bullet casings were found near his feet as well as near his head, according to investigators.
According to McCauley, Hernandez had previously told Lloyd he was upset that the 27-year-old talked to some people Hernandez was having "trouble with" at a night club on June 14. He said Hernandez told Lloyd that he "couldn't trust anyone anymore."
Prosecutors said Lloyd text messaged a family member during the early morning hours of June 17 asking them if they saw who he was with before text messaging again "NFL." His final text message was "just so you know."
McCauley said tire tracks adjacent to Lloyd's body showed slight depressions were made when the tires spun fast, possibly when the car drove away. The tread marks indicated a car with front wheel drive. They claim the silver Nissan Altima rented by Hernandez, that Lloyd's sister saw him get in, had front wheel drive. They also say dirt in the tire treads of the car and in the wheel well were consistent with dirt found at the scene.
They also allege surveillance video footage from Hernandez's home was missing when investigators attempted to look at it six to eight hours after the killing. A source told FOX 25's Bob Ward that surveillance video showed Hernandez walk into his home with two others around 3:30 a.m. on June 17, but Lloyd was not with them.
Investigators claim they found a .22 caliber gun tied to an altercation in Providence, R.I. while searching the woods near Hernandez's home. They also reportedly found a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine in it. Hernandez does not have a license to carry a firearm.
Prosecutors asked Hernandez be held without bail, claiming that Lloyd's murder was an execution and that Hernandez had motive, means, and opportunity. Hernandez's attorneys claimed the case was circumstantial and that Hernandez was not a flight risk.
Massachusetts State Police and North Attleboro police arrived at Hernandez's home at 8:45 a.m. About two minutes later they exited the home with Hernandez in handcuffs wearing red shorts with his arms inside of a white T-shirt. He was placed in a police cruiser and taken to the North Attleboro police department for booking.
Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson told reporters Hernandez will get no special treatment after his arrival to the Bristol County House of Corrections Wednesday.
Hodgson said Hernandez will go through a mental and physical evaluation over the next few days and don a green jumpsuit, signifying that he has not been convicted of any crime. Depending upon a medical evaluation, he may be in a cell by himself or with a cell mate. Hodgson says being a professional athlete is not reason enough to keep him in his own cell.
Investigators will also look into whether or not Hernandez is a gang member due to media reports of his alleged connection to gang members. This will be done to see if there is any reason to keep him away from other prisoners.
Hernandez will be allowed to have visitors in 48 hours after the visitors have undergone a background check. His attorneys can visit at any time.
The 23-year-old will not be able to use a cell phone or the Internet. He will also not be able to watch television, lift weights, or eat junk food during his stay at the correctional facility.
The Patriots cut Hernandez from the team about an hour after his arrest. "At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do," said the Patriots.
Hernandez, who played three seasons in New England, was an All-American at Florida. But heading into the NFL draft at least one team said it took him off its draft board — refusing to select him under any circumstances — and all of the other teams in the league bypassed him repeatedly as he fell to New England in the fourth round.
In 38 games over his three NFL seasons, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. Last summer, he was given a five-year contract worth $41 million just months after the team locked up Rob Gronkowski through 2019.
Hernandez is being represented by Attorney Michael K. Fee, of Ropes & Gray LLP, and Attorney James Sultan, of Rankin & Sultan.
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