Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

Murder charges filed against NFL player


Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriot tight end who has been embroiled in a police investigation since a body was found near his Massachusetts home, was charged Wednesday with the murder of a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez, who reportedly pleaded not guilty to six charges that included murder and other weapons charges, did not react inside the Attleboro District courtroom, which was filled with journalists, victim family members and court officers.

If convicted, Hernandez could get life in prison without parole.

Bill McCauley, an assistant district attorney, used the arraignment to start building his case.

McCauley said Hernandez's cell phone places him at an industrial park at 3:22 a.m., the morning of the June 17 killing. Hernandez was seen on surveillance video, and in the minutes he was out of sight, witnesses heard multiple shots, McCauley said. 

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Authorities located a .45-caliber casing in a dumpster and discarded Bubblicious gum that was traced back to the defendant, McCauley said. Hernandez orchestrated the shooting of the victim, Odin Lloyd, drove home and discarded the weapon, McCauley charged. 

McCauley said the murder stemmed from a night out at a Boston club called Rumor on June 14. He said Hernandez was upset about certain things, including that Lloyd, 27, had talked to some people Hernandez "had troubles with." The prosecutor did not elaborate.

Surveillance footage from Hernandez's home showed him leaving with a gun, and he told someone in the house that he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.

The three men picked up Lloyd at his home around 2:30 a.m., according to authorities. As they drove around in their rented car, they discussed what happened at the nightclub, and Lloyd started getting nervous, McCauley said.

They say Lloyd text messaged a family member in 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," reported.

Lloyd's family says he was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. They say the two men were friends and were out together on the last night of Lloyd's life.

Hernandez "drove the victim to that remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution," McCauley said.

In recent days, law enforcement members searched near both Hernandez's home and the industrial park where Lloyd's body was found. At least three search warrants have been issued in connection with the investigation.

Lloyd was a semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits.

Hernandez was arrested by state police and the North Attleboro Police Department Wednesday morning at his home in the town of North Attleboro.

Police entered his home at 8:45 a.m. and about two minutes later, came out with a handcuffed Hernandez. The tight end was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back. He casually spit into some bushes on his way to the car.

Later, as he was taken from the North Attleboro police station to court, two dozen supporters cheered, some yelling, "We love you, Aaron!"

About two hours after news of his arrest, the Patriots announced his release.

"Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process," the team's statement said.

The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., in 2010 out of the University of Florida, where he was an All-American.

During the draft, one team said it wouldn't take him under any circumstances, and he was passed over by one club after another before New England picked him in the fourth round.

Afterward, Hernandez said he had failed a drug test in college -- reportedly for marijuana -- and was up front with teams about it.

In other off-the-field troubles, a Florida man filed a lawsuit last week claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February.

And The Boston Globe reported that Hernandez lost his temper and threatened a teammate during an argument in the team's weight room shortly after he was drafted.

Hernandez became a father on Nov. 6 and said he intended to change his ways: "Now, another one is looking up to me. I can't just be young and reckless Aaron no more. I'm going to try to do the right things."

Phone messages left earlier by for Hernandez's lawyer and the Bristol District Attorney's Office were not immediately returned.

Hernandez was remanded and his next court appearance set for July 24. His defense promised to appeal the bail. 

Fox News' Andrew Fone and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.