Attleboro, MA – Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder stemming from a homicide investigation into the death of Odin Lloyd on June 17.
Hernandez was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, led away from his home in handcuffs by law enforcement authorities at about 8:45 a.m. ET. He was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Attleboro District Court.
In addition to first-degree murder, Hernandez also faces five gun-related charges, including carrying a firearm without a license. Hernandez stood stoically in cuffs while the prosecution laid out its case.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be held without bail.
The New England Patriots released the Pro Bowl tight end less than two hours after his arrest.
Hernandez was charged nine days after the body of Lloyd was found near the player's home. Police had met with Hernandez and searched his home a few times last week.
Lloyd, who was 27-years-old, was a semi-pro football player and an acquaintance of Hernandez. Prosecutors said Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
The prosecution said Lloyd was killed by bullets fired from a .45 caliber handgun. He was shot multiple times in the back and chest.
Assistant district attorney Bill McCauley said surveillance footage shows Hernandez leaving his home with a gun on the night of the killing. McCauley said people working at the industrial park where Lloyd's body was found recalled hearing gunshots at about 3:30 a.m. ET on the morning of June 17.
"He orchestrated his execution," McCauley said about Hernandez.
Defense attorney Michael Fee asked for bail while calling the prosecution's case circumstantial, saying his client was not a flight risk, but was denied.
Members of Lloyd's family sat in the courtroom during the proceedings.
A gag order was issued and comments from attorneys for Hernandez and the prosecution after the arraignment were limited.
"We will be pursuing it in court, we look forward to our day in court," said Fee, who also commented briefly on Hernandez's state of mind saying, "Aaron's fine."
Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter held a brief press conference outside the courthouse and could not discuss much in detail, although he did ask the public for further help in the case.
"I cannot comment on the nature of the case," said Sutter. "Neither side can publicly comment about the case at this time. The reality is that this case is still an ongoing investigation."
ABC News last Thursday, citing an investigator with knowledge of the case, reported that Hernandez intentionally destroyed a home security system within his house and turned over a broken cell phone to police. He also hired a cleaning service to clean his mansion on Monday, according to the source.
Sports Illustrated first broke the story last Tuesday, saying Hernandez was questioned by Massachusetts state police in its investigation. According to SI.com, police connected a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban rented in Hernandez's name with the homicide of Lloyd.
Hernandez has spent three seasons with the Patriots. He set career highs of 79 catches, 910 receiving yards and seven touchdowns during his Pro Bowl season of 2011, then played in just 10 games due to injuries last year and finished with 51 receptions for 483 yards with five touchdowns.
The Patriots acted quickly after Hernandez's arrest and issued a statement on Wednesday morning.
"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."
Hernandez had signed a five-year contract extension worth a reported $40 million last summer.