Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Wednesday. The body of Hernandez's friend, 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, was found in a park about a mile away from Hernandez's home, shot multiple times in the back and chest.
Less than two hours after news of Hernandez's arrest, the Patriots decided to release him as well. According to ESPN, Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Prosecutors laid out their case in court, detailing the night of the killing when Hernandez, 23, and some friends had picked Lloyd up about 2:30 a.m. on June 17. Surveillance footage showed that Hernandez had left his home earlier that night with a gun, prosecutors said.
The Prosecution's Case
Prosecutors allege Aaron Hernandez was upset with Lloyd for communicating with some other people whom Hernandez had issues with, during their outing to a nightclub a few days earlier.
Before he was killed, Lloyd sent several text messages to his sister. One said, "Did you see who I am with," according to prosecutors. In response to his sister asking who, Lloyd texted "NFL" at 3:22 a.m. A minute later, he followed with another text: "Just so you know."
Shortly thereafter, some overnight workers in the park where Lloyd's body was later found claimed they heard gunshots.
First Degree Murder in Massachusetts
In light of Hernandez's murder charge, a judge has ordered that he be held without bail.
Hernandez's attorney, in an unsuccessful attempt to contest this, argued that Hernandez was not a flight risk, lived with his fiancee and an 8-month-old baby, and had no violent criminal history. He also called the prosecution's case "circumstantial."
First degree murder statutes vary by state, but the general definition of it requires that there be a killing that was premeditated and committed willfully. Massachusetts' statute defines it similarly, as a killing committed with premeditated malice, deliberately, or with extreme atrocity or cruelty. There is a penalty of up to death or imprisonment for life, if found guilty.
In addition to the murder charge, Hernandez also faces five firearms charges.
- Rising NFL star Hernandez charged with murder in Massachusetts (Reuters)
- Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Sued as Homicide Investigation Continues (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Difference Between First and Second Degree Murder? (Findlaw's Blotter)
- First Degree Murder Defenses (FindLaw)