Published July 24, 2013
Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriot who prosecutors say orchestrated the murder of a semi-professional football player, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon for a probable cause hearing, which was delayed.
Defense attorney Jamie Sultan objected to the delay and asked the judge to dismiss the case because he said prosecutors failed to meet the probable cause threshold four weeks after his client’s last court appearance.
Prosecutors asked for more time before a probable cause hearing, but noted new evidence and nearly two-dozen witness testimonies and ammunition collected from Hernandez’s apartment that matches the caliber found at the murder scene.
The judge denied Sultan’s request for dismissal and scheduled Hernandez’s next court date for Aug. 22.
Hernandez, who was dressed in a dark suit and unbuttoned white shirt, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player whose body was found June 17 in an industrial park near Hernandez's home. He had been shot five times.
Prosecutors say Hernandez and two associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, drove with Lloyd to the North Attleborough industrial park. Authorities have not said who fired the shots, but documents filed in Florida — and released since Hernandez's last court appearance — paint the former Patriot as the triggerman. According to the records, Ortiz told police that Wallace said Hernandez fired the shots.
Hernandez's lawyers say the case against him is circumstantial and he wants to clear his name. Hernandez, who was kicked off the team soon after his arrest, is being held without bail at a county jail.
Warrants released Tuesday in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., show police found ammunition, a gun box and documents tied to Ortiz and Wallace at the home of Hernandez's uncle.
The warrants were used to search that home, where Ortiz said he lived; an apartment also linked to Ortiz; and a rental car police say was used by Wallace and Ortiz to return to Connecticut the day after the shooting.
The items seized from the home included clothes, Correction Department documents linked to Ortiz and Wallace, a plastic gun box and two boxes of .38-caliber ammunition.
Meanwhile, Hernandez could also end up facing an indictment in the murders of two men killed in a drive-by shooting, reports say.
Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report