Ex-Patriots tight end Hernandez indicted on murder charge
FALL RIVER, Mass. — Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a friend whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile from the ex-player's home.
The six-count grand jury indictment charges Hernandez with killing 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend. It also contains weapons counts, according to the Fall River division of Bristol County Superior Court.
Hernandez, 23, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in June, and he is being held without bail at a county jail. His lawyers say the case against him is circumstantial and they're confident he will be able to clear his name.
Hernandez signed a new Patriots contract last summer worth $40 million but was cut from the team within hours of his June 26 arrest, when police led the handcuffed athlete from his home as news cameras rolled.
He could face life in prison if convicted. He was due to appear in Attleboro court later Thursday.
A jogger found Lloyd's body on June 17 in a North Attleborough industrial park. His mother, Ursula Ward, called him a loving son who never hurt anyone and implored law enforcement officials to get justice for his slaying.
Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd's killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with at a nightclub days earlier. They say Hernandez and two associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked Lloyd up at his home in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood early on June 17 and then drove to the industrial park.
Shortly before his death, authorities say, Lloyd sent his sister text messages. He asked if she had seen who he was with when he got into the car in Boston. Then he indicated who it was in a way that Lloyd's family said he knew his sister would understand. “NFL,” he wrote. “Just so you know.”
Moments later, authorities say, Lloyd was dead after gunshots rang out in an unpaved construction area by a warehouse after he apparently got out of the car for what he thought was a bathroom break.
Authorities have not said who fired the shots, but according to court documents, Ortiz told police in Florida that Wallace said it was Hernandez.
Wallace has pleaded not guilty to a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to a firearm charge. Both are being held in jail without bail.
Authorities have said they haven't found the murder weapon, which they believe was a .45-caliber Glock pistol. But they recovered a magazine for .45-caliber bullets in Hernandez's Hummer as well as ammunition of the same caliber inside a condo he rented in Franklin, Mass.
Authorities also recovered a shell casing that matched those found at the homicide scene after tracking the rental car Hernandez was in the night Lloyd died.
Since then, Boston police have asked police in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., for their help with the probe into Lloyd's homicide as well as a 2012 double homicide near a Boston nightclub. A Connecticut police lieutenant said authorities searched the home of Hernandez's uncle, seizing an SUV sought in the double killing that had been rented in Hernandez's name.
Two men died in the July 2012 shooting in Boston's South End, with witnesses reporting that gunfire came from inside a gray SUV with Rhode Island tags. Boston police haven't reported any arrests in the deaths of 29-year-old Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Teixeira Furtado and won't comment on whether Hernandez is a suspect.
Hernandez is also facing civil litigation after a Connecticut man filed a lawsuit asserting the former player shot him in the face in February after they argued at a Miami strip club. Alexander Bradley, who says he lost an eye, told police at the time he didn't know who shot him.
In July, a judge ordered him to appear before the Fall River, Mass., grand jury hearing evidence against Hernandez in Lloyd's homicide.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Cardinals’ Fitzgerald feels best days aren’t behind him
- NFL notebook: Browns considering 2 QB system with Hoyer, Manziel
- NFL upholds Browns WR Gordon’s 1-year ban