Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday for the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. Lloyd, a former semi-pro football player and an acquaintance of Hernandez, was killed in an execution-style shooting in June.
Hernandez would face a possible sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted on the first-degree murder charges. He also faces five gun charges.
The grand jury had been expected to return the indictment Thursday. The 23-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to appear in Attleboro (Mass.) District Court for a probable-cause hearing. The hearing initially was scheduled for July 24, but prosecutors received a 30-day extension to outline their case to defense attorneys.
Hernandez, a Bristol, Conn., native, was arrested June 26, nine days after he allegedly shot Lloyd five times and then dumped the body approximately a mile from his North Attleboro, Mass., home. The Patriots released Hernandez within hours of his arrest. He has remained in a solitary cell without bail in the Bristol County House of Correction since being taken in custody.
Two men who were allegedly with Hernandez on the night of the shooting are also being charged with murder, and one of them, 27-year-old Carlos Ortiz, said that Hernandez pulled the trigger in the shooting death of Lloyd.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty. He has denied the charges against him, including in a letter sent from jail.
“I know everything happens for a reason and I know ‘God’ has a plan for me and something good will come out of this,” he wrote in the letter, obtained by TMZ. “The world just makes things of false accusations and it will all die down especially when they say NOT GUILTY and all the people who have turned on me will feel like crap.”