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Patriots owner Robert Kraft: Organization was 'duped' by Hernandez

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   July 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM   |   Comments

July 11 (UPI) -- Amid new allegations that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was the one that shot semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, team owner Robert Kraft has spoken about his murder charge for the first time.

Kraft said his organization had been “duped” by Hernandez, whom the Patriots signed last year to a five-year contract extension. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez donated $50000 to the charity honoring Kraft's late wife.

Kraft also talked about how quickly the Patriots released him. The team let Hernandez go moments after his June 26th arrest, before he entered a not-guilty plea.

"If any member of the New England Patriots organization is close enough to a murder investigation to actually get arrested -- whether it be for obstruction of justice or the crime itself -- it is too close to an unthinkable act for that person to be part of this organization going forward," Kraft said.

Hernandez's career stats were quickly scrubbed from the NFL page, and the Patriots invited fans to trade-in their Hernandez jerseys for those of other players. He will be completely removed as a character in NCAA Football 14 in the next online update.

Hernandez was implicated by an alleged accomplice as the man who shot and killed semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in June.

Prosecutors say Carlos Ortiz was one of the men with Hernandez the night Lloyd was killed. Ortiz told police that "Mr. Hernandez admitted to shooting Mr. Lloyd."

The information came as part of an eight-page affidavit filed in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., court Thursday. It was filed there because an alleged third accomplice, Ernest Wallace, was arrested in a nearby town after Hernandez was charged with murder.

Ortiz's accusation that Hernandez pulled the trigger marks a major development in the case.

The accusation, should Ortiz testify, will be dependent on how reliable judges think Ortiz is. Ortiz has prior charges of drug possession.

Authorities had refused repeatedly to say who among the three men – Hernandez, Ortiz and Wallace – they believe actually fired the five rounds that killed Lloyd in what police call an execution-style murder.

Follow @cmlee and @UPI on Twitter.
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