Earlier this morning I pondered the fantasy outlook of the Patriots offense in its new, highly mangled configuration. Please read that to justify my existence. Thanks.
Part of that mental meandering and fear for Tom Brady’s 2013 season related to Jake Ballard, and specifically whether or not he’d have a fully functioning knee. When Aaron Hernandez was officially cut after he did the sleeveless handcuffed dance earlier this week, the immediate assumption was that Jake Ballard would ascend the Patriots’ tight end depth chart. We all thought that would be especially true if Rob Gronkowski can’t recover from being generally broken before Week 1, forcing him to the PUP list.
There’s just a weee problem, though. Ballard isn’t healthy either, and his own climb to being at least a replacement level tight end has continued to be a slow one.
UPDATE (2:45 p.m. ET): At an appeal hearing Hernandez was denied bail again, with superior court judge Renee Dupuis ruling that he has the means and motivation to flee.
She also noted that while much of the evidence presented by the prosecution so far is circumstantial, their case is still “very, very strong.” Hernandez will return to jail, where he’ll wait for his next court appearance on July 24 for a probable cause hearing.
I just…I just…I just don’t know what to say anymore. But since saying nothing doesn’t really feel like an option, here’s Aaron Hernandez’s latest attempt to convince you that he’s not a nice person.
In addition to being on trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, Hernandez is now reportedly being investigated as a possible suspect in a double murder that took place in downtown Boston on July 16, 2012.
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.
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.
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.
When we last checked in with Aaron Hernandez Saturday, police were searching his home and property, and we learned that his dog lives quite lavishly. Prior to that on Friday there were reports that he’ll be charged with obstruction of justice and a paper warrant had been drafted, though it still hasn’t been issued yet. Fun times for all.
Now there are divers taking a pleasant June swim in the water near Hernandez’s home, and according to ESPN’s Rich Hollenberg, they have metal detectors too for a search of the wooded area surrounding the pond. What exactly they’re looking for remains unclear, just like most of the details around this case. If you’re the speculating type (I’m not at all so please don’t sue me, thanks), your first thought should be the murder weapon, with the local authorities searching the water to see if the gun was ditched.
As always, we’ll pass along more information if/when it surfaces. It’s now been a week since Odin Lloyd’s body was first found, and the investigation feels like it’s far from over. And with each passing day, the question of what the Patriots will do about a month from now when their training camp begins looms larger.
One month isn’t long in the legal system, and if Hernandez is indeed eventually charged with obstruction of justice, that’s the same charge that has followed Ray Lewis, and he didn’t miss a single game of the 2001 season.
UPDATE (2:04 p.m. ET): Police returned empty-handed after a search of the pond and wooded area near Hernandez’s home, according to USA Today.
Staying consistent with the theme of the past week, police were rather vague when asked for any detail at all. There were six officers in total, two of which were in wet suits and diving the deepest depths of the pond in question, while the others patrolled the surrounding area with metal detectors.
When asked what they hoped to find, one investigator said, “evidence.” When asked if they had found any, he responded, “no, no evidence.” The investigator requested anonymity because, he said, he wasn’t authorized to speak about the case.
When asked about the pond, he said, “That’s already been cleared.”
For those keeping score, a pond and a dog mansion are now included in the areas cleared.
This seemed inevitable after the events of yesterday, a day in which Aaron Hernandez stopping to get gas was a really big deal. Now, a warrant has been issued for the tight end’s arrest, according to a report earlier this morning from CBS Boston.
At some point today he’ll be charged with obstruction of justice, a charge which may sound familiar because it’s the lesser crime Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to after he faced double murder charges, and he agreed to testify against the other defendants. The CBS report also notes that it’s possible Hernandez’s charge could be upgraded.
Stay tuned for another day of following this closely, and likely updating this post many times.
UPDATE (11:35 a.m. ET): Something very 2013 just happened. Hernandez drove from his house to Gillette Stadium, and he was followed the entire time by a local news helicopter which provided live footage, and of course the Twitters went a tweetin’. This made him look like a fugitive, and a wanted man.
But while he may be the latter, he’s not the former right now, since I’m pretty sure authorities of some kind need to be doing the chasing for a fugitive to really be a fugitive.
Whatever, we can debate criminal linguistics another time. What matters right now is that as I type this, Hernandez is in Gillette Stadium, and presumably speaking to someone important. Or maybe he’s just pumping iron and getting his grind on while giving very few craps about what’s going on outside.
Since the investigation into Aaron Hernandez and his possible connection with a homicide began early this week, reports have repeatedly stated that he’s not viewed as a suspect. This latest report from CBS Boston is the exception.
Citing an unnamed law enforcement source, the report indicates that Hernandez hasn’t been ruled out as a possible suspect in the North Attleboro investigation. The same source added that Hernandez currently isn’t cooperating with the authorities, meaning his attitude has apparently changed from last night when police entered his home, and arrested two men who tried to leave during the search. Police also left with a box of some kind.
Earlier this morning Hernandez drove away with a woman in the passenger seat of his Audi. The link between Hernandez and the body discovered by a jogger Monday (later identified as 27-year-old Odin Lloyd of Dorchester) is a rented Chevrolet Suburban. Both the car and the victim’s body (Odin has been referred to as an “associate”) were found roughly a mile away from his home.
I’ll update this post with further information when/if it’s available.
UPDATE (1:42 p.m. ET): I almost didn’t add this update because it’s not directly related to the story above, and therefore isn’t a true “update”. Then I started thinking about how often we stick to regular journalistic practices around here, and the fact that when a follow-up item comes with the headline “HE SHOT ME IN THE FACE”, there’s a certain sense of obligation. So, here we are.