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Hernandez's lack of concern alarmed police

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By USA Today
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 8:18 p.m.
 

Documents unsealed by a judge Tuesday reveal Aaron Hernandez was a suspect from the start of the investigation into the June 17 homicide of Odin Lloyd, with police alarmed by Hernandez's apparent lack of concern for a dead friend.

The quick work by investigators, detailed in the paperwork, enabled police to obtain search warrants for Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass., an apartment police say he rented in Franklin, several vehicles and his locker in the New England Patriots locker room at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Hernandez, being held without bail, has pleaded not guilty to murder and five weapons charges. Two men allegedly with Hernandez, 23, when Lloyd was killed are also in custody. Carlos Ortiz, 27, has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm, and Ernest Wallace, 41, also being held without bail, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact.

In the 156 pages released, police said that when they arrived at Hernandez's home at 10:30 p.m. on June 17, a half-mile from the crime scene, to notify him of the death of Lloyd and to ask about a car Hernandez had rented for his buddy, Hernandez immediately became defensive and asked, “What's with all the questions?”

Police say Lloyd's was shot in the early morning hours of June 17 and his body was found by a jogger at approximately 5:30 p.m. that day.

When asked when he had last seen Lloyd, Hernandez said he had been “up his way” the previous night. But Hernandez quickly became agitated and told police they would need to speak with his attorney, went back into his house, slammed and locked the door. Minutes later, he unlocked the door and approached police with his lawyer's business card, police said in the documents.

When told “this is a death investigation,” Hernandez didn't ask whose death, police said. He went back into his house, slammed the door and locked it again. In the documents, police observed, “Mr. Hernandez's demeanor did not indicate any concern for the death of any person.”

After contacting his lawyer, Hernandez later agreed to speak with police and went to the North Attleborough, Mass., police station to be interviewed.

The documents also reveal that Ortiz has admitted he was with Hernandez on the night of Lloyd's shooting. In the documents, police reveal that Ortiz was the tipster who told investigators about Hernandez's “flop house” apartment in Franklin.

Ortiz said he had inadvertently left his cell phone at the apartment, and police, using a search warrant, located the phone in sofa cushions. Also found at the apartment during searches were several boxes of ammunition. In a Hummer, which belonged to Hernandez and was parked at the apartment complex, police said they found a loaded .45 caliber Glock magazine in the console.

Police also are questioning the veracity of statements by Hernandez's fiancée Shayanna Jenkins. She told police that she had gone to bed early on the night of June 16 and didn't know what Hernandez had done after that. But police said surveillance video from the Hernandez home shows Jenkins with Hernandez in the driveway at 12:40 a.m. June 17 as he meets Ernest Wallace and Ortiz hours before Lloyd was shot to death in a nearby industrial park.

While Hernandez was hostile, police said Jenkins cried when she was told of Lloyd's death.

Much of the information contained in the documents was presented by prosecutors at Hernandez's arraignment. But there were some nuggets previously undisclosed:

• Jenkins told police Lloyd used marijuana and was a marijuana dealer. Jenkins also said Lloyd's phone was constantly ringing and he was constantly talking in “lingo” that led her to believe the conversations were about marijuana sales.

• In a search of Hernandez's home, police removed a safe that contained a scale and a plate. It's common drug dealer paraphernalia, but police don't make that connection in the paperwork.

• To make sure the phone Lloyd had texted the night of his killing belonged to Hernandez, police called the phone while Hernandez was in their presence in the police station on June 17. It rang and he answered. Police detailed texts between Lloyd and Hernandez to set up their meeting.

• Police were able to determine the likely time of death from a witness who said he was sitting in his car approximately 200 yards from the crime scene. While on his regular break “ between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. -- on his overnight shift, he said he heard three gunshots and a car door slamming.

• Surveillance video shows three men, believed to be Hernandez, Ortiz and Wallace leave Hernandez's home in a silver Niassan Altima at approximately 1:09 a.m. on June 17. Before leaving, one man appears to hand Hernandez “a white rope-like item” from the trunk, police said. The car returns to Hernandez's home at 3:26 a.m., police said.

• Police said surveillance video from a camera at a home across the street from Lloyd's house on Fayston Street in Boston determined that Lloyd got into the car with Hernandez, Ortiz and Wallace at 2:33 a.m. Three surveillance cameras at businesses near the crime scene also were used by investigators in tracking the car and creating a timeline.

• Found in the silver Altima by an Enterprise Rent-A-Car manager in North Attleborough: a small vitamin water bottle in the driver's side cup holder; a colorful child's drawing found beneath the driver's seat, a piece of chewed bubblegum, and what was described by the agent as a “bullet,” from beneath the driver's seat. Police said it was a .45 caliber shell casing. The manager said she had disposed of the items -- using a piece of paper to pick up the chewed gum -- in a nearby dumpster. Police said they retrieved them.

• Massachusetts State Police ballistic experts determined that the five .45 caliber casings found near Lloyd's body and the casing found in the returned rental car were fired from the same unknown .45 caliber handgun.

• Witnesses at Rumor Nightclub in Boston told police they observed Hernandez with Lloyd on the night of June 14, when, prosecutors say, Lloyd angered Hernandez by talking to the wrong people. That night, prosecutors say, Hernandez began plotting Lloyd's killing. Hernandez, a witness told police, appeared to have a handgun in his waistband that night.

• On the night of June 14, Hernandez didn't come home and didn't answer messages or calls from his fiancée. She finally contacted Lloyd, who told her that both men had become drunk and slept in the car.

• Fingerprints taken from inside the Nissan Altima belonged to Hernandez and Lloyd, police said.

Earlier in the day, Ortiz's attorney, John Connors solved one of the case's mysteries by saying that Hernandez's older brother, D.J., was the link between Aaron Hernandez and his client. Ortiz and D.J. Hernandez -- both 27 -- had played basketball together when they were high school freshmen in Bristol, Conn. D.J. Hernandez is currently a tight ends coach for the University of Iowa.

When Ortiz was arrested, he and D.J. Hernandez and Ortiz were Facebook friends, and Cesar Sanchez, who said he was a friend of Ortiz's, told USA TODAY Sports that Ortiz said “he went the mansion to hang out” with Aaron Hernandez often. He was referring to Hernandez's residence in North Attleborough.

Sanchez added: “He never told me anything he did over there. He just told me he used to go up there and just hang out with him. That's it.”

On Tuesday, with Connors at his side, Ortiz agreed to be held without bail until Aug. 14, when he will appear in court again.

Connors said, for now, Ortiz agreed to be held without bail for two reasons -- he's indigent and “couldn't make bail if it were even $10,000 or $20,000” and because Connors needs time to obtain court documents. A judge Tuesday approved Connors' motion for discovery on several items, including search warrants and affidavits -- including the documents released Tuesday.

 

 
 


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