FALL RIVER, Mass.: Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was again ordered held without bail after being charged with murder for what prosecutors called orchestrating the execution of a friend.
Superior Court Judge Renee Dupuis in Fall River, Mass., Thursday affirmed that Hernandez will be held in jail. While agreeing with Hernandez’s lawyer that the case was based on circumstantial evidence, Dupuis said, “It’s a very, very strong circumstantial case.”
As Hernandez stood in the courtroom, the judge said the killing seemed “cold-blooded.”
Hernandez, 23, was arraigned Wednesday in district court in Attleboro, Mass., after being arrested at his home in North Attleboro, about 30 miles southwest of Boston. He’s charged with murder in the first degree and firearms crimes. Hernandez, dressed in a white T-shirt and red shorts, pleaded not guilty during the 40-minute arraignment.
In court Thursday, William McCauley of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office gave a minute-by-minute account of the early morning hours of June 17, saying Odin Lloyd, 27, was driven from his home in Boston by Hernandez and two other men to an industrial park in North Attleboro and shot to death.
“He orchestrated the execution,” McCauley said of Hernandez.
McCauley told the judge that the police found five spent .45-caliber bullet casings near Lloyd’s body and that he had been shot five times. The gun hasn’t been found.
Lloyd’s body was discovered by a jogger later in the day.
The apparent motive, according to McCauley, was that Lloyd had been talking to some people at a club in Boston with whom Hernandez had “troubles.”
Michael Fee, Hernandez’s lawyer, asked that his client be released on bail, telling Attleboro District Court Judge Daniel O’Shea Wednesday that the prosecution’s case was circumstantial.
“It is not a strong case,” Fee told O’Shea.
Hernandez’s lawyers appealed O’Shea’s bail decision, saying that he lacked a criminal record, was a stable homeowner with a family and did not pose a risk of flight.
Dupuis rejected that appeal today.
If convicted, Hernandez faces life in prison without parole, McCauley said. Hernandez is scheduled to appear again in court on July 24.
After the arraignment, Fee told reporters, “Aaron’s fine” and declined to comment further. Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter said the investigation was still underway and also declined to comment further.
At the request of Hernandez’s lawyers, O’Shea issued an order preventing defense and prosecution attorneys and law enforcement officers from commenting publicly on the case. Fee had complained of a “hysterical atmosphere” surrounding the case.
Police and prosecutors pieced together their case from mobile-phone text messages sent and received in the hours before Lloyd’s murder, as well as footage from surveillance cameras at Hernandez’s home and other locations along the route from Boston to North Attleboro.
The two other men with Hernandez and Lloyd that night weren’t identified by Massachusetts prosecutors. One man has been charged in Connecticut in connection with the case.
Brian Preleski, state’s attorney for New Britain, Conn., said in a statement that in assisting Massachusetts authorities in the “investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the homicide of Odin Lloyd,” Carlos Ortiz of Bristol, Conn., was charged as a fugitive from justice and agreed to waive extradition to Massachusetts.