Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder Wednesday more than a week after a body was found near the former New England Patriot's Massachusetts home. Hernandez pleaded not guilty to murder and to five other charges related to firearms, including a charge of possessing a large-capacity firearm. Due to the first-degree murder charge, he will be held without bail.
"He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to conceal and destroy evidence," First Asst. District Attorney Bill McCauley told the court.
Hernandez. 23. is charged with the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd of Dorchester, Mass. Lloyd's body was found by a jogger on June 17 in an industrial park close to Hernandez's home. Odin had been shot, and the death was ruled a homicide.
The alleged murderer reportedly showed no emotion as he listened to prosecutors outline their account of the crime in Attleboro District Court. Authorities are citing surveillance camera footage, text messages, and night shift workers who heard gunshots the night Lloyd was killed. At the very end of the arraignment, Hernandez reportedly wiped tears from his face.
Prosecutors say Hernandez murdered Lloyd in the wake of a fight between the two friends during an excursion to a Boston nightclub on June 14. On June 17, they allege, Hernandez and two friends picked Lloyd up at his house at 2:30 a.m. Surveillance footage from the ex-Patriot's house show him leaving earlier in the night with a weapon.
After getting into the car, Lloyd allegedly sent texts asking a family member "Did you see who I am with," prosecutors said. When his family member replied that it was Hernandez, Lloyd replied, "Just so you know." This exchange may imply that Lloyd anticipated the potential for something bad to happen between himself and Hernandez.
Witnesses working the overnight shift at the park where Lloyd's body was ultimately found reported hearing gunshots between 3:23 a.m. and 3:27 a.m., according to authorities.
Though Hernandez's attorney claims the case against Aaron Hernandez is weak, prosecutors argue that home security footage from the ex-NFL star's house show him holding firearms after Lloyd had been murdered, and show a Nissan Altima -- the same type of car Hernandez had rented -- going to and coming from the site where Lloyd's body was found. Shortly after Lloyd was killed, at 3:29 a.m., authorities say the video shows Hernandez exiting the vehicle with a gun.
The Patriots announced that they were releasing Hernandez less than two hours after the arrest, commenting on the circumstances in the following statement.
"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," a statement from the team read.
Hernandez has also lost his endorsement contract with CytoSport, the manufacturer of athletic supplements such as Muscle Milk.
Aaron Hernandez is still involved in an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by a Connecticut man who alleges that the former New England Patriot shot him in the eye as the two left a Miami strip club in February. The case was reportedly abandoned, however, after the plaintiff, Alexander Bradley, refused to cooperate with authorities.
Hernandez lives with his fiancée and their infant.