Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was indicted for first degree murder by a grand jury on Thursday, setting the stage for the former Patriots tight end to stand trial for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
A Massachusetts grand jury delivered Hernandez's indictment which alleges unlawful weapons and ammunition possession as well as first degree murder for the June homicide of his friend Lloyd, reports NBC News.
Now indicted, what will Hernandez face as he advances toward a murder trial?
Hearing Confirms Murder Charge
Hernandez had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday, during which a judge would have heard evidence to determine whether the charges against him were supported by probable cause.
- First degree murder,
- Possession of a firearm,
- Possession of a high-capacity firearm or feeding device, and
- Possession of ammunition (two counts).
Luckily for Hernandez, Massachusetts declared capital punishment unconstitutional in 1984, so the former Patriot will not face the death penalty.
In light of this indictment and several motions by Hernandez's attorney, the court on Thursday continued the hearing until August 30, when the judge will also hear arguments that prosecutors allegedly engaged in prosecutorial misconduct.
Regardless of the outcome of this upcoming hearing, Hernandez's indictment means that he is ultimately bound for Massachusetts Superior Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction over first degree murder cases under state law.
Gag Order Still in Effect
Details about the allegations in Hernandez's case have been scant due to a gag order that was requested at the time of the player's initial arraignment, reports CBS Sports.
Gag orders are often issued in high profile cases to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial. They mostly serve to limit what prosecutors can say to the press.
At Hernandez's court hearing on Thursday, a judge affirmed that the June gag order was still in effect, so the media may have limited information on the evidence in the upcoming murder trial until it begins.
- Aaron Hernandez -- Indicted on Murder Charge (TMZ)
- Aaron Hernandez Arrested, Charged With Murder (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Aaron Hernandez Arrest Warrant Issued: Reports (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Sued as Homicide Investigation Continues (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)