NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder for the shooting death of an acquaintance last week. The New England Patriots cut Hernandez from the team today after learning of his arrest and he will be held without bail while he awaits trial. He pled guilty at his arraignment today.
Original Post: NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has been embroiled in a murder investigation for more than a week, was taken from his home in handcuffs this morning, leading to speculation he may soon be charged in the shooting death of a close "associate." Massachusetts State Police say the charges will be revealed when he appears in court later today.
Police have been surprisingly quiet about their findings in the case of Odin Lloyd, an associate of Hernandez's who was found dead near the New England Patriot's home on June 17. As recently as yesterday, they were insisting that no suspects had been named in the murder case and they even got a judge to seal all documents in the case. Yet police showed up at his house this morning, placed the 23-year-old in handcuffs, and took him away in a police cruiser. It appears he was not given a chance to surrender voluntarily.
According to various law enforcement leaks, Hernandez was allegedly with the victim on the night he was killed and possibly tampered with potential evidence before police could review it. There were multiple reports last week that he would be arrested for obstruction of justice, but that never came to pass. (Or it just did; but several days too late.)
We'll update this post with details of the charges as they become available.
Update 10:22 a.m.: Not waiting for the charges to be filed (or already tipped off to their contents) the New England Patriots have unceremoniously released Aaron Hernandez, ending his contract with the team. The formal statement says it is "simply the right thing to do." Most of his contract will be voided, but he will still be owed the guaranteed portion, which could be several million dollars.
The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
Update 2:27 p.m.: The Hernandez arraignment hearing will begin in North Attleborough, MA, at any minute. Here is the live stream from WFSB in Connecticut:
Hernandez has been charged with one count of murder and five related gun charges. He is pleading not guilty, but will be held without bail.
Prosecutors laid out the details of the case against Hernandez, including recounting many details of his actions and whereabouts on the night of the murder. The case, as presented in court, reads like a manual for what not to do if you want to get away with murder. If the charges are true, he seems to have made only clumsy, half-hearted attempts to cover his tracks and destroy evidence, and was caught on multiple surveillance camera with both weapons and the victim.
The victime, Odin Floyd, went missing around 2:30 on Monday morning June 17. He was found several hours later with multiple gunshot wounds, including one in the back and two in the chest. Floyd had keys in his pocket belonging to a rental car that was rented in Hernandez's name. Shell casing were also found in another Hernandez rental car. He was licensed to carry a firearm.
As to motive, the prosecutors claim that Hernandez was "upset" with Odin Lloyd because he had spoken at a nightclub to people Hernandez "had troubles with." Hernandez was allegedly caught on tape saying, "You can't trust anybody," before texting two other friends and demanding they come to his home immediately before the murder. Lloyd met Hernandez a year ago, when he began dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.
The next court date will be July 24.