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Hernandez charged with murder, held without bail

June 26, 2013 at 6:06 PM   |   Comments

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NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass., June 26 (UPI) -- Tight end Aaron Hernandez Wednesday was charged in Massachusetts with murder and ordered held without bail in the slaying of his friend Odin Lloyd.

Several members of Lloyd's family attended Hernandez' arraignment at Attleboro District Court where he was charged with multiple firearms offenses as well as murder.

Bristol County assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley said during the arraignment Hernandez, 23, "orchestrated the crime from the beginning" and took steps to conceal it, requesting no bail be set. They outlined extensive evidence indicating Hernandez and two "confederates" took Lloyd, 27, to an industrial area not far from Hernandez' North Attleborough home, where they allegedly shot and killed him at about 3:30 a.m. June 17.

Prosecutors asked Hernandez be held without bail, saying he hid evidence, got his fiance to stop talking to investigators, gave the two confederates the use of a car to flee and destroyed surveillance equipment at his home.

Michael Fee, an attorney for Hernandez, describing the scene as "a rather hysterical atmosphere," argued the prosecution case "is not a strong case. It is circumstantial," and said Hernandez is not a flight risk.

"It would be practically impossible ... to flee with any type of success," Fee said.

After declining to grant bail, the judge agreed to a request by both sides to restrict public comment by those involved in the criminal case.

All court records in the case "have been impounded by order of the Court," Attleboro District Court Magistrate Mark E. Sturdy said in a statement.

The New England Patriots released Hernandez following his arrest earlier in the day. Hernandez was handcuffed when Massachusetts State Police led him away from his home about 8:45 a.m.

The Patriots had previously refused to comment regarding Hernandez but issued a statement within hours of his arrest.

"The New England Patriots have announced the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide," a release posted on the team's website said.

"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."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement released to NFL Network the "involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling."

The league said it extended its "deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."

Hernandez had been part of the investigation into the death of Lloyd, 27, a semipro football player whose body was found June 17 near Hernandez's home.

WFXT, Boston, last week reported residents near the Hernandez house said they heard gunshots about 3 a.m. June 17.

ABC News, citing law enforcement sources, said there is mounting evidence Hernandez and Lloyd had visited several nightclubs together before Lloyd was killed, and Lloyd had been driving a sport utility vehicle rented in Hernandez' name.

An investigator close to the case said Hernandez was found to have destroyed his home security system, including video surveillance equipment, ABC News reported.

Hernandez was a fourth-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He had 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011 when he was selected for the Pro Bowl. Injuries limited his play to 10 games last season when he caught 51 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns.

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