New England Patriots former tight end Aaron Hernandez, left, stands with his attorney Michael Fee as he is arraigned in Attleboro District Court. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)
ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass.— Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez faces first-degree murder and five other charges in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old acquaintance Odin Lloyd.
"Based on the nature of the crime, the nature of the case, and the likelihood and the means" Hernandez has to flee, the state asked that Hernandez be held without bail, and the court agreed.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty to all charges. In addition to murder, he's charged with carrying a firearm without a license; two counts of possession of a large capacity firearm; and two counts of possession of a firearm without a valid ID card.
Police claim to possess footage of Hernandez stating "you can't trust anyone anymore," while holding a firearm before picking up Lloyd after 2:30 a.m., according to the district attorney. The case outlined against him points to an exchange between Hernandez and Lloyd at a club two nights earlier.
Hernandez is alleged to have arranged to pick up Lloyd in a rented vehicle along with two co-conspirators.
Lloyd allegedly texted a family member asking "did you see who I was with?" According to the district attorney, Lloyd followed with a text that said "NFL."
During the arraignment, it was also detailed that Hernandez was captured by surveillance video in the area claiming a rented Nissan Altima, at the scene of the crime near his home and returning the car to the rental agency where a shell casing and the same type of bubblegum Hernandez purchased at a gas station was found under the driver's seat. That stop was also caught on camera.
Defense attorney Michael Fee called the case "weak" and evidence against his client circumstantial in asking for bail, which was denied. Fee also requested a gag order be issued.
Based largely on surveillance videos and cell-phone texts, the prosecution team recited a lengthy and detailed account of actions and interactions involving Hernandez and Lloyd during the days leading up to June 17 when Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park about a half mile from the North Attleboro home of Hernandez.
The DA connected a black semi-automatic weapon, and shell casings from that weapon found near the body, to Hernandez based on fingerprints and other evidence.
The prosecution also detailed the crime scene and autopsy, which revealed entry wounds in each nipple. Lloyd was first shot in the back, but was still alive and bracing for impact by raising his arms when he was shot again, according to the DA. Two bullets that penetrated his chest passed through Lloyd's body completely.
Hernandez is represented by well-known criminal attorney Jamie Sultan of Rankin and Sultan, as well as Boston law firm Ropes and Gray for whom Fee has been the most obvious spokesman.
The 23-year-old was taken into custody by multiple officers Wednesday. Ninety minutes later, the Patriots announced Hernandez would no longer be on the roster, a swift and stunning fall from stardom.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss," the statement read. "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."
As a three-year veteran, Hernandez is subject to NFL waivers and could be claimed by another team before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. He signed a five-year contract that included a $12.5 million signing bonus last year and partnered with All-Pro Rob Gronkowski to form the NFL's top tight-end tandem.
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