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Murder charge for Aaron Hernandez

ESPN staff
June 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Aaron Hernandez was arrested on Wednesday morning © AP
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Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murdering his friend after the two had a dispute during a trip to a nightclub.

Hernandez was arrested Wednesday and charged with the first-degree murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from the former New England Patriots tight end's home.

Hernandez, released by the Patriots less than two hours after his arrest, pleaded not guilty and has been ordered to be held without bail. He also faces five gun-related charges, which were revealed Wednesday afternoon in Attleboro District Court.

Lloyd's relatives said he was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, that the two men were friends and that the men were out together on the last night of Lloyd's life. He was shot multiple times in the back and chest, authorities said.

In court, prosecutors described a killing borne out of a trip to a Boston nightclub on the night of June 14.

Hernandez and two friends picked up Lloyd at home at 2.30am on June 17, prosecutors said. Surveillance footage from Hernandez's home shows him leaving earlier with a gun. He also told someone in the house that he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, prosecutors said.

After picking up Lloyd, Hernandez said he was upset with Lloyd because Lloyd had spoken with people Hernandez had trouble with during their outing to the nightclub, prosecutors said.

After that conversation, Lloyd texted his sister, "Did you see who I am with," prosecutors said. When his sister asked who, he answered at 3.22am, "NFL," then, a minute later, "Just so you know," prosecutors said.

Between 3.23am and 3.27am, people working the overnight shift at the industrial park reported hearing gunshots, authorities said.

It's not clear who investigators believe fired the shots.

Hernandez's attorney, Michael Fee, asked for bail, saying Hernandez is not a flight risk, is a homeowner and lives with his fiancée and their eight-month-old baby. He also said Hernandez never had been accused of a violent crime.

"It is, at bottom, a circumstantial case. It is not a strong case," Fee said.

Hernandez was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back as he was led from his sprawling North Attleborough home at approximately 8.45am on Wednesday. He casually spit into some bushes on his way to a police cruiser.

At about 10.20am, the Patriots announced they had released Hernandez and expressed sympathy to Lloyd's family and friends.

"Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation," the Patriots said in a statement. "We realise 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."

The NFL also released a statement Wednesday, saying that Hernandez's arrest is "deeply troubling."

"The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling," the league's statement said. "The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."

The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, out of the University of Florida in 2010. Last summer, the team gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.

Hernandez is one of 28 NFL players arrested since this year's Super Bowl on Feb 3, according to a database kept by U-T San Diego.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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