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Former Patriot’s tight end is hit with six counts of first-degree murder and weapons charges.

Last updated: August 23. 2013 8:37AM - 870 Views
ERIKA NIEDOWSKI Associated Press



Former New England Patriot football player Aaron Hernandez is lead into court in Attleboro, Mass., on Thursday.
Former New England Patriot football player Aaron Hernandez is lead into court in Attleboro, Mass., on Thursday.
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder and weapons charges 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.


Hernandez, 23, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in June, and he is being held without bail at a county jail.


He had a brief court appearance in Attleboro on Thursday afternoon. Afterward, his attorney, Michael Fee, said the defense was pleased to be on a path to a jury trial and was looking forward to testing the prosecution’s evidence.


“There has been an incredible rush to judgment in this case,” and the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove the charges, he said.


Hernandez signed a contract last summer worth $40 million but was cut by the Patriots 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.


The Bristol County grand jury also indicted two others in the case.


Hernandez associate Ernest Wallace is charged with accessory to murder after the fact.


Hernandez’s cousin Tanya Singleton is charged with criminal contempt for failing to comply with a judge’s order requiring her to provide truthful testimony to the grand jury.


Singleton has been jailed in Massachusetts since Aug. 1, but authorities haven’t said why. A recent affidavit says after Lloyd’s killing Singleton bought a bus ticket for Wallace, who’s believed to have been with Hernandez the night Lloyd died.


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, Wallace and another associate, 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.


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