Former Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday afternoon in Attleboro (Mass.) District Court along with five other gun-related offenses. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was denied bail.
During the arraignment, a prosecutor detailed the case evidence and said Hernandez "orchestrated" the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. He said Hernandez was seen with Lloyd at 2:30 a.m. and his phone included texts to the victim and two friends on the night of the murder. He also said that the prosecution has video evidence of Hernandez walking through his home with a gun shortly after Lloyd's murder.
The district attorney added that Hernandez shot Lloyd three times after he got out of the car "then stood over him and put two in his chest," according to Wesley Lowery of the Boston Globe.
Hernandez displayed little emotion during the arraignment, but defense attorney Michael Fee said the case is "circumstantial" and "not strong."
Hernandez was arrested and taken out of his North Attleboro, Mass., home in handcuffs on Wednesday morning. A short time later, the Patriots released the star tight end.
Hernandez had been a person of interest in a Massachusetts State Police investigation into the murder of Lloyd, a Hernandez acquaintance. Police had searched his home and some surrounding areas, and it was reported last Friday that Hernandez was the subject of an arrest warrant.
Four unmarked police cars pulled up to Hernandez's home at 8:47 this morning and officers placed the Patriots tight end into custody. According to the Massachusetts State Police twitter feed, Hernandez was booked at the North Attleboro Police Station.
“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. 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 has spent his entire three-year career with the Patriots after being drafted in the fourth round in the 2010 NFL Draft. Last season, Hernandez caught 51 passes with 483 yards with five touchdowns. Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns over this three years as a tight end in New England.
The Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year, $40 million contract extension in August, 2012 with $16 million of that contract being guaranteed money as a signing bonus.
The NFL released a statement asking to keep the victim's family in mind. “The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling,” the statement read. “The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. “At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd’s family and friends.”