Aaron Hernandez, 23, was arrested in his North Attleborough home a week after Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd’s body was found by a jogger June 17.
Less than two hours after the arrest, the Patriots announced they had cut the famous player, a 2011 Pro Bowl selection who signed a five-year contract last summer worth $40 million, The Huffington Post reports.
“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,” a statement from the teams claimed.
“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.”
Lloyd was a 27-year-old athlete with the Boston Bandits who was linked to the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. He was shot numerous times, authorities said.
Hernandez “drove the victim to that remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution,” First Assistant District Attorney William McCauley said in Attleboro District Court.
“As (Lloyd) tried to turn, he was shot in the back, and the defendant and his confederates stood over him and delivered the two fatal shots,” McCauley said, adding: “He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to conceal and destroy evidence.”
The investigation found that the murder was prompted by a fight between the two friends during a trip June 14 to a Boston nightclub.
Three days later, the NFL star and his friends allegedly picked the victim up at his house at 2:30 a.m. Surveillance footage from Hernandez’s house shows him leaving earlier in the night with a weapon, prosecutors said.
After getting into the car, Lloyd allegedly texted a family member, asking, “Did you see who I am with,” prosecutors said. The athlet then explained in a message that it was Hernandez and followed it up with “Just so you know” in another text message, the prosecutors alleged during the arraignment.
Between 3:23 a.m. and 3:27 a.m., employees who were working the overnight shift at the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was later found remembered hearing gunshots. It’s not clear who investigators believe fired the shots.
If convicted, Hernandez could get life in prison without parole.
“It is at bottom a circumstantial case. It is not a strong case,” his attorney, Michael Fee, said at a court hearing during which Hernandez was ordered held without bail on murder charges and five weapons counts.
By the way, Hernandez is also involved in another lawsuit filed by a Connecticut man, Alexander Bradley, who insists that the 23-year-old shot him in the eye after the two left a Miami strip club in February.
According to a Palm Beach County police report, the case was abandoned because Bradley refused to cooperate with authorities.