National News

June 27, 2013

Texts, video cited in charges against Hernandez

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — In the final minutes of his life, Odin Lloyd sent a series of texts to his sister.

“Did you see who I was with?” said the first, at 3:07 a.m. June 17. “Who?” she finally replied.

“NFL,” he texted back, then added: “Just so you know.”

It was 3:23 a.m. Moments later, Lloyd would be dead in what a prosecutor called an execution-style shooting orchestrated by New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez because his friend talked to the wrong people at a nightclub. Hernandez was charged Wednesday with murder.

Hernandez was cut from the NFL team less than two hours after he was arrested and led from his North Attleborough home in handcuffs, and nine days after Lloyd’s body was discovered by a jogger in a remote area of an industrial park not far from Hernandez’s home. The 2011 Pro Bowl selection had signed a five-year contract last summer with the Patriots worth $40 million.

His attorney, Michael Fee, called the case circumstantial during a Wednesday afternoon court hearing packed with reporters, curiosity seekers and police officers. Fee said there was a “rather hysterical atmosphere” surrounding the case and urged the judge to disregard his client’s celebrity status as he asked for Hernandez, 23, to be released on bail.

The judge, though, ordered Hernandez held without bail on the murder charge and five weapons counts. If convicted, Hernandez could get life in prison without parole.

Hernandez stood impassively with his hands cuffed in front of him as Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley laid out a detailed timeline of the events, cobbled together from sources including witnesses, surveillance video, text messages and data from cellphone towers.

Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player with the Boston Bandits, had known Hernandez for about a year and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, the mother of Hernandez’s 8-month-old baby, McCauley said.

On June 14, Lloyd went with Hernandez to a Boston club, Rumor. McCauley said Hernandez was upset Lloyd had talked to people there with whom Hernandez had trouble. He did not elaborate.

Two days later, McCauley said, on June 16, Hernandez texted two unidentified friends. He asked them to hurry to Massachusetts from Connecticut. At 9:05 p.m., a few minutes after the first message to his friends, Hernandez texted Lloyd to tell him he wanted to get together, McCauley said.

Later, surveillance footage from Hernandez’s home showed his friends arrive and go inside. Hernandez, holding a gun, then told someone in the house he was upset and couldn’t trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.

At 1:12 a.m., the three left in Hernandez’s rented silver Nissan Altima, McCauley said. Cell towers tracked their movements to a gas station off the highway. There, he said, Hernandez bought blue Bubblicious gum.

At 2:32 a.m., they arrived outside Lloyd’s home in Boston and texted him that they were there. McCauley said Lloyd’s sister saw him get into Hernandez’s car.

From there, surveillance cameras captured images of what the prosecutor said was Hernandez driving the silver Altima through Boston. As they drove back toward North Attleborough, Hernandez told Lloyd he was upset about what happened at the club and didn’t trust him, McCauley said. That was when Lloyd began sending texts to his sister.

Surveillance video showed the car entering the industrial park and at 3:23 a.m. driving down a gravel road near where Lloyd’s body was found. Four minutes later, McCauley said, the car emerged. During that period, employees working an overnight shift nearby heard several gunshots, McCauley said.

McCauley said Lloyd was shot multiple times, including twice from above as he was lying on the ground. He said five .45 caliber casings were found at the scene.

Authorities did not say who fired the shots or identify the two others with Hernandez.

At 3:29 a.m., surveillance at Hernandez’s house showed him arriving, McCauley said.

“The defendant was walking through the house with a gun in his hand. That’s captured on video,” he said.

His friend is also seen holding a gun, and neither weapon has been found, McCauley said.

Then, the surveillance system stopped recording, and footage was missing from the six to eight hours after the slaying, he said.

The afternoon of June 17, the prosecutor said, Hernandez returned the rental car, offering the attendant a piece of blue Bubblicious gum when he dropped it off. While cleaning the car, the attendant found a piece of blue Bubblicious gum and a shell casing, which he threw away. Police later searched the trash bin and found the gum and the casing. The prosecutor said it was tested and matched the casings found where Lloyd was killed.

As McCauley outlined the killing, Lloyd’s family members cried and held each other. Two were so overcome that they had to leave the courtroom.

The Patriots said in a statement after Hernandez’s arrest but before the murder charge was announced that cutting Hernandez was “the right thing to do.”

“Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation,” it said.

Hernandez, originally from Bristol, Conn., was drafted by the Patriots in 2010 out of the University of Florida, where he was an All-American.

During the draft, one team said it wouldn’t take him under any circumstances, and he was passed over by one club after another before New England picked him in the fourth round. Afterward, Hernandez said he had failed a drug test in college — reportedly for marijuana — and was up front with teams about it.

A Florida man filed a lawsuit last week claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February.

Hernandez became a father on Nov. 6 and said he intended to change his ways: “Now, another one is looking up to me. I can’t just be young and reckless Aaron no more. I’m going to try to do the right things.”

1
Text Only
National News
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors

    An Afghan government security guard opened fire Thursday on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Nevada rancher condemned for racist remarks

     A Nevada rancher who has become a conservative folk hero for resisting the federal government’s attempts to round up his cattle faced sharp criticism Thursday for racist comments published in a New York Times article.

    April 24, 2014

  • NRA seeks universal gun law at national meeting

    With concealed weapons now legal in all 50 states, the National Rifle Association’s focus at this week’s annual meeting is less about enacting additional state protections than on making sure the permits already issued still apply when the gun owners travel across the country.

    April 24, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday.

    April 23, 2014

  • US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

    April 23, 2014

  • Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

    For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.

    April 23, 2014

  • Deal signs bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

    Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia.

    April 23, 2014

  • Indian film awards arrive in Tampa, Fla., but why?

    The so-called Bollywood Oscars have been held in Macau, Singapore, London — and now, Tampa?

    April 23, 2014

  • Indictment: Prosecutor targeted in kidnapping plot

    A North Carolina prosecutor was the intended target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers looked up the wrong address on the Internet and abducted the prosecutor’s father instead, according to an indictment released Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video