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Patriots star Aaron Hernandez charged with murder [Updated]
Everything we know so far about the unfolding investigation of a strange homicide case linked to the star tight end
 
Aaron Hernandez has found himself at the center of a murder investigation.
Aaron Hernandez has found himself at the center of a murder investigation. Getty Images/Elsa

UPDATE: [June 26, 3:20 p.m.] Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder in the death of former semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez has also been charged with five other gun-related offenses. He has pled not guilty.

The judge in the case has ordered Hernandez be held without bail, following the prosecuting attorney's claim that Hernandez had a "likelihood to flee."

During the arraignment, the prosecuting attorney laid out, in significant detail, the "strong evidence" he claimed established that Hernandez had "orchestrated" the murder.

He said Hernandez was seen, both by witnesses and on several surveillance cameras, with the victim on the night of the murder. Cell phone geodata also showed Hernandez traveling with Lloyd and arriving at the industrial park where Lloyd's body was found.

The prosecutor further alleged witnesses in the area of that industrial park heard gunshots, and that forensic evidence indicated Hernandez and his accomplices shot Lloyd multiple times, and then, as Lloyd lay on the ground, stood over him and delivered the fatal shots.

Though Hernandez destroyed surveillance equipment in his home, the prosecutor said investigators still obtained footage showing Hernandez walking through his home carrying a gun sometime after Lloyd is believed to have been shot.

As for a motive, the prosecutor said Hernandez was upset Lloyd had talked the previous night to people he didn't like at a Boston night club, and that he later told a friend he "couldn't trust anyone anymore."

An attorney for Hernandez, Michael Fee, said the evidence was "at bottom a circumstantial" and that the case was "not based on fact."

UPDATE [June 26, 10:25 a.m.]: Aaron Hernandez is a New England Patriot no more.

The Patriots released the following statement regarding the release:

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. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.

UPDATE [June 26, 9:50 a.m.]: Massachusetts State Police arrested Aaron Hernandez at his home in North Attleboro, Mass., on Wednesday morning. The arrest comes after police again searched Hernandez's home and the surrounding wooded are over the weekend.

Authorities have not yet said what Hernandez has been charged with, though they said they'll announce further details later today.

Last week, ABC reported that police had drawn up an arrest warrant for Hernandez on obstruction of justice charges after determining he'd destroyed a video surveillance system in his home and smashed his cell phone before turning it over to investigators.

UPDATE [June 21]: Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Hernandez on an obstruction of justice charge, according to multiple reports. Hernandez has not been named as a suspect in the homicide investigation, but police reportedly believe he intentionally destroyed surveillance equipment in his home that could have been useful in their ongoing investigation.

However, conflicting reports Friday morning differed over whether a warrant had been issued, or if one was forthcoming. The Boston Globe reported that no warrant had been issued, and a court clerk told Boston's CBS, "We have nothing issued from this court right now." ABC has stuck by its report that a warrant has been "prepared," while Reuters said police "plan to arrest" Hernandez.

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This story was first published on June 20.

Four months after falling short in his Super Bowl run, New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez is now at the center of a homicide case.

Police have not named Hernandez as a suspect in their investigation into the murder of a 27-year-old Boston man who was found near Hernandez's home in suburban Massachusetts. However, authorities have twice searched his home, and a trickle of news reports have directly linked Hernandez to the victim, suggesting that police are at least investigating whether he was somehow involved.

Here's what we know about the investigation so far:

A jogger on Monday found the body of the victim, former semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleboro, Mass. Lloyd, who reportedly dated the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend, had been shot in the back of the head. A state medical examiner determined the cause of death was homicide.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts State Police searched Hernandez's home for two hours, with one officer emerging with a cardboard box, according to Sports Illustrated. On the same day, Attleboro's Sun Chronicle reported that police found a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban rental car with Rhode Island plates near the murder scene. SI later determined that the car was registered to Hernandez, which was what led police to question him in the first place.

Police have also searched two other rental cars registered to Hernandez. One of those vehicles was parked at Hernandez's home on Tuesday when authorities arrived to search the property, while the other had been returned earlier that day, its side mirror ripped off. Investigators issued a press release asking the public to help them locate the mirror, though they did not explain its significance.

Boston's Fox affiliate, meanwhile, reported Wednesday that Hernandez was "directly tied" to the homicide investigation, and that he was seen at a bar with Lloyd the night before he died.

On Wednesday, a source told FOX 25 Hernandez, Lloyd, and two other men were at a bar in Boston the night of the homicide, and at some point, the four men left together in a car driven by Hernandez which was confirmed by a text Lloyd sent another friend.

It is unclear where the car went or what happened during the ride, but according to the source only three men returned to Hernandez's home at the end of the night and Lloyd was not one of them. [MyFoxBoston]

On Thursday, ABC News reported that police were heading back to Hernandez's home with a fresh warrant after determining that a security system in his home — which included video surveillance — had been "intentionally" destroyed. Citing multiple law enforcement officials, ABC also reported that Hernandez's attorney's had allegedly turned over, "in pieces," a cell phone belonging to Hernandez, and that a large cleaning crew had been called to his home on Monday.

Given all those details, Sports Illustrated, citing an anonymous source, said Thursday afternoon that police were preparing to arrest Hernandez. However, others pushed back on those reports as premature, including the Boston Globe's Wesley Lowery.

ABC, meanwhile, citing a police official "close to the investigation" said that Hernandez was not a suspect, but that he was "definitely not in the clear."

 
Jon Terbush is an associate editor at TheWeek.com covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.

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