NORTH ATTLEBORO (CBS) – Aaron Hernandez was ordered held without bail Wednesday afternoon, formally charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Dorchester man last week.
Hernandez, 23, who had been released earlier in the day by the New England Patriots after his arrest, was arraigned in Attleboro District Court on charges of murder and carrying a firearm without a license in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.
The proceeding was carried live on all four Boston television stations and CNN.
Lloyd was found shot dead in a field less than a half-mile away from Hernandez’s home on Monday, June 17.
Investigators say Hernandez shot Lloyd twice and when he fell to the ground, Hernandez allegedly stood over his body and shot him three more times.
Authorities say .45 caliber shell casings were recovered at the scene. Police have not found the weapon.
In court Wednesday, the prosecutor recounted the events of June 17, saying Hernandez and two other men picked up Lloyd in Dorchester around 2:30 a.m. in a rented Nissan Altima.
Hernandez was allegedly upset with Lloyd about speaking to someone at Club Rumor in Boston earlier in the weekend and claimed he couldn’t trust him, according to the prosecutor.
The four men drove around Boston, then headed south down Routes 128 and 95 and eventually onto Route 152 in the Attleboro area. During the ride, Lloyd exchanged texts with his sister. The last one was sent at 3:23 a.m.
Surveillance video, according to investigators, showed the car entering a gravel road that leads to a field in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home at 3:23 a.m. (Continued…)
The prosecutor said overnight workers in the park reported hearing gunshots at that time. Surveillance images showed the Nissan leaving the scene at 3:27 a.m.
Hernandez and the two associates then returned to Hernandez’s home less than two minutes away and shut off the surveillance video system, according to investigators.
Lloyd’s body was discovered several hours later – around 5:30 p.m. – by a jogger.
Prosecutors said Hernandez eventually changed cars, disposed of the gun and then destroyed his home surveillance system.
After pleading not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday, the judge ordered Hernandez held without bail. Both sides were also told not to discuss the case in the media.
Hernandez blew a kiss to someone in the court before he was led away around 3:20 p.m.
The day’s events unfolded earlier when Hernandez was led out of his home by officers around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and taken away in the back of a North Attleboro police cruiser.
He was wearing a white t-shirt and had his arms inside the shirt and behind his back, handcuffed, as two officers escorted him out the front of his house and into the car.
Hernandez was booked at the North Attleboro Police Station. He was then driven to Attleboro District Court around 1:45 p.m. He arrived in handcuffs at 2 p.m. for his arraignment.
Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter told reporters he would speak to the media about the investigation after the arraignment.
At about 10:25 a.m., the Patriots issued this statement:
“The New England Patriots have announced the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide last week in North Attleboro, Mass.
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize 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.”
Timeline Aaron Hernandez Investigation
The NFL released this statement on Twitter at 11:30 a.m:
“The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. 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.” (Continued…)
Hernandez has been the focus of the homicide investigation for more than a week.
Lloyd’s family told WBZ-TV he was dating a woman whose sister is Hernandez’s fiancee.
They declined comment Wednesday on Hernandez’s arrest as they went to Attleboro for the arraignment.
Police had questioned Hernandez and searched his home several times in the last week and left with boxes of evidence. Hernandez then hired the high-powered Boston law firm of Ropes and Gray.
His attorneys Michael Fee and Jamie Sultan were seen at his home around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, but they did not speak to reporters.
There were two other men involved in the murder, according to prosecutors.
WBZ has learned a man named Carlos Ortiz was arrested Wednesday in Bristol, Connecticut for a probation violation.
Authorities in Connecticut will not confirm that he is connected to murder of Odin Lloyd, but they do say they have been in contact with the Bristol County DA’s office in Massachusetts. Ortiz is being held on $1.5 million bail.
A home belonging to a relative of Hernandez was also searched in Bristol Wednesday night, according to WFSB. Officers would not say if the search was connected to the murder investigation.
After he was arraigned, Hernandez was transported from Attleboro District Court to the Bristol County Jail in Dartmouth. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson spoke with Hernandez, and says the former Patriots tight end was “polite” and “normal.”
The sheriff says Hernandez will undergo mental and physical health evaluations during the first 48 hours he is in jail and will be interviewed about any possible gang affiliations. If he is put into general population, he will have a roommate and be put in a 10×7 cell. Sheriff Hodgson stressed that Hernandez will be treated no different than any other prisoner.
Hernandez, a tight end, was a fourth round pick of the Patriots in 2010 out of the University of Florida.
He signed a five-year, $40 million extension last year. Of that $40 million, $16 million was guaranteed.
According to the NFL Network, the Patriots may still have to pay Hernandez $2.46 million over the next two years.
Shortly after the arrest, Hernandez’s number 81 jerseys were pulled from the shelves of the Patriots Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. His name was also removed from the roster on the team’s web site.
Fans at Gillette told WBZ-TV’s Michelle Roberts they support the Patriots decision to release him.