|National Football League|
Pro football player Hernandez charged with murder
By MICHELLE R. SMITH
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in the shooting death of a friend prosecutors say had angered the NFL player at a nightclub a few days earlier by talking to the wrong people.
Hernandez, 23, was taken from his North Attleborough home in handcuffs just over a week after Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park a mile away.
Less than two hours after the arrest, the Patriots announced they had cut Hernandez, a 2011 Pro Bowl selection who signed a five-year contract last summer worth $40 million.
Lloyd was a 27-year-old athlete with the Boston Bandits who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. He was shot multiple times on a secluded gravel road, authorities said.
Hernandez "drove the victim to that remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution," prosecutor Bill McCauley said.
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.
Lloyd's family members cried and hugged as the prosecutor outlined the killing. Two were so overcome with emotion that they had to leave the courtroom.
McCauley said the slaying stemmed from a night out at a Boston club called Rumor on June 14. He said Hernandez was upset about certain things, including that Lloyd had talked to some people Hernandez "had troubles with." The prosecutor did not elaborate.
Two days later, McCauley said, on the night of June 16, Hernandez texted two friends from out of state and asked them to hurry back to Massachusetts.
Surveillance footage from Hernandez's home showed him leaving with a gun, and he told someone in the house that he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.
The three men picked up Lloyd at his home around 2:30 a.m., according to authorities. As they drove around in their rented car, they discussed what happened at the nightclub, and Lloyd started getting nervous, McCauley said.
Lloyd texted his sister, "Did you see who I am with?" When she asked who, he answered, at 3:22 a.m., "NFL," then, a minute later, he sent one final text: "Just so you know."
Within a few minutes, people working the overnight shift at the industrial park reported hearing gunshots, McCauley said. Surveillance video showed the car going into a remote area of the industrial park and emerging four minutes later, the prosecutor said.
A short time later, Hernandez returned to his house, and he and one of the other men were seen on his home surveillance system holding guns, McCauley said. Then the system stopped recording, according to the prosecutor.
Hernandez had recently installed the system and had 14 cameras inside and out, according to McCauley, who said detectives found footage was missing from the six to eight hours after the slaying.
Investigators did not specify who fired the shots. They did not identify the two other people who were with Hernandez or say whether they were under arrest.
According to McCauley, Hernandez and his friends later returned the car to the rental agency, and Hernandez offered the attendant a piece of blue chewing gum. She found a .45-caliber shell casing and a piece of what appeared to be chewed blue gum in the car and threw them out.
Later, investigators retrieved the items from a trash bin, and the casing matched others found where Lloyd was killed, McCauley said. The two weapons seen on the surveillance footage have not been found, he said.
In arguing unsuccessfully for bail, Hernandez's attorney said the athlete is unlikely to flee, is a homeowner, and lives with his fiancee and an 8-month-old baby. He also said Hernandez had never been accused of a violent crime.
As he was led from his home in the morning, Hernandez was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back. He spit into some bushes on his way to a police cruiser.
Later, as he was taken from the North Attleborough police station to court, two dozen supporters cheered, some yelling, "We love you, Aaron!"
"Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation," the Patriots said in a statement announcing he had been cut.
The team added: "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."
The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., 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.
In other off-the-field troubles, a Florida man filed a lawsuit last week claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February.
And The Boston Globe reported that Hernandez lost his temper and threatened a teammate during an argument in the team's weight room shortly after he was drafted.
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."
Associated Press writers Bridget Murphy in Boston and Howard Ulman in North Attleborough contributed to this story.
Updated June 26, 2013
Tom Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.
Heath Evans of the NFL Network joins Mut and Lou to talk how Revis and Browner impact the Patriots defense, the Vince Wilfork Situation, and the arms race between Denver and New England
We talk Revis with his friend and mentor, former Patriot Ty Law.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.
Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston joins Mut, Lou, and Christian to talk about Rajon Rondo in the booth, the rest of the Celtics losing season, and the epic battle between the Pacers and Heat.
We discuss the Red Sox early season woes with manager John Farrell, as well as his views and faith in MLB's new instant replay system, and the continuity in the Sox outfield.
Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox starting left fielder, Grady Sizemore. grady talks about what it was like to hit a home run off his old teammate, C.C. Sabathia, and his reaction to not seeing Koji on the mound in a save situation.
Steve Lyons joins Dale and Holley to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees series and Michael Pineda's sticky hand.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.
Shawn Thornton joined the show to preview the upcoming series against the Red Wings.
2 games left in the season and the Bruins are in the driver's seat for the President's Cup which is allowing them to coast and get healthy. Pierre McGuire updates Mut and Lou on the possibility of Seidenberg's return and talks about situations elsewhere in the NHL.
Crystel called in to defend the terrorists.
Our friend Michele McPhee joined the show to discuss the latest with Kayvon.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Buster Olney joined Mut and Merloni to discuss the Lester contract offer and the trickle-down effect in the clubhouse, the defense of Xander Bogaerts, and the slow start
Andy Brickley joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the Bruins Red Wings series, a possible Seidenberg return, and the power play.
We discuss the Red Sox after our interview with John Farrell, and Dustin Pedroia in the lead-off position has become a hot topic.
We discuss the Bruins first round matchup vs the Red Wings, and why many national folks think this series could be the one to watch for an early round upset.
Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.
Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.
WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island
The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.
Scott and Ben recap WrestleMania 30 and talk about the death of the Ultimate Warrior.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed Aaron Hernandez getting in more jailhouse trouble.More from this show
Friend of the show, Brad Faxon, checks in to examine all the Masters action and to evaluate Bubba Watson's performance.More from this show