UPDATE (2:44 p.m. ET): Aaron Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder, and five gun-related charges. He’s pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say that Odin Lloyd was shot in the arm, back, and chest, and six-to-eight hours of footage are missing from Hernandez’s home security system.
In Massachusetts, a conviction of first degree murder will end in life imprisonment for Hernandez, while second degree would also give him a life sentence, but with the chance of parole after 15 years. He’ll be held without bail until his trial.
Among the evidence revealed during an impressively detailed run down by the prosecution was a series of text messages in which Hernandez asked to meet Lloyd, and a shell casing found in the car rented by the former Patriots tight end, which matched the casings found at the scene. The killing of Lloyd was also referred to as an “execution“, there was no evidence of a robbery, and there was communication between Hernandez and his alleged victim just hours prior to the shooting. Also, Lloyd’s sister told prosecutors that he left his house around 2:30 a.m. on June 18 in a car which belongs to Hernandez.
Additionally, Lloyd sent texts of his own while in the car with Hernandez, telling others where he is, and where he was going. Public surveillance shows that the car Hernandez was driving near the industrial park where the body was found is the same vehicle which appeared in his driveway minutes later.
The little bit of footage recovered from Hernandez’s personal security system shows someone getting out of the car with a gun, and walking into the house. Meanwhile, Hernandez’s lawyer Michael Fee argued that much of the evidence is circumstantial.
So yeah, to say that it’s not looking good for his NFL career is a drastic understatement. But I felt dirty even typing that, and caring at all about any future football aspirations Hernandez has. Here’s what matters: a 27-year-old man is dead, and Hernandez has been charged with his murder.
UPDATE (10:28 a.m. ET): HOLY WOW WOW WOW WOW
Apologies, that’s the best I can do for commentary right now after THIS…
The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
I still almost stop myself every time I think I’m about to make an assumption. And then I keep going, so I’ll do it again now: if the Patriots truly thought that Hernandez’s crimes ended with obstruction of justice, it’s highly unlikely they would release such a vital member of their offense.
(Note: Now I’ve had time to write some words, and put together some thoughts for a more coherent reaction.)
And so the day has finally come. Aaron Hernandez was arrested at 8:45 a.m. ET this morning, and escorted from his North Attleboro home due to his connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Though it hasn’t been officially announced yet, the charge will likely be obstruction of justice. That’s been the rumored charge since Friday when it was reported that police had a warrant for Hernandez’s arrest, but were waiting to act on it. Earlier this week Hernandez’s lawyer released a statement in which he was critical of the various media outlets that prematurely floated loosely sourced rumors of a forthcoming arrest, noting that a detainment had not yet been finalized by the district attorney’s office.
Here’s the raw video of his perp walk, because surely you won’t be able to see it anywhere else today. Like, say, repeatedly on NFL Network for about eight hours.
I hesitate to read too much into anything surrounding this case, because as is inherent in the criminal investigation trade, details have been rather murky all week and slow to surface. And now that I’ve issued that disclaimer, I can timidly say this: it’s at least a little odd that Hernandez wasn’t permitted to turn himself in, and he was clearly surprised by the arrest and the presence of officers at his front door.
The video above doesn’t show the part when he answered the door shirtless, and then did a pretty classic “oooooohhhhhh crap dammit this sucks” face while about a dozen suited dudes from the set of Men in Black walked through the door. This is the same guy who’s been the subject of an investigation which has included police divers, searches through the woods with metal detectors, and Hernandez’s own home was searched over the weekend. Yet he was surprised by an arrest?
He’ll be arraigned later this afternoon, and if we don’t officially know the charge at that point, that’s when we’ll find out. Again, the smart money is on obstruction of justice, since that’s exactly what Hernandez did when he reportedly destroyed his cell phone and home security system, and had his home professionally cleaned.
Lead pic via the Boston Globe