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New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez charged with murder and axed from team


Authorities in Massachusetts have charged now-former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a semi-pro football player who was also reportedly a friend.

Hernandez was cut by the Patriots within two hours of his Wednesday arrest in the slaying of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found, shot execution-style, in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’ home June 17, according to the Associated Press and USA Today.

Hernandez is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to murder and weapons charges in Attleboro District Court.

First assistant Bristol County district attorney William McCauley contended in court that Hernandez “orchestrated the execution.” Attorney Michael Fee, who represents Hernandez, called the prosecution “a circumstantial case, not a strong case,” USA Today reports.

Lloyd’s family said the two were friends and that Lloyd’s girlfriend is a sister of Hernandez’ fiancée, the AP article reports.

An ESPN article provides further details, some of them from Lloyd’s family. It says Hernandez is captured on a surveillance tape with a gun leaving his home some time before he and two friends pick Lloyd up at 2:30 a.m. for a trip to a Boston nightclub, according to prosecutors.

An argument then ensued, and Lloyd texted his sister at about 3:20 a.m. to let her know he was with “NFL.” Within minutes, workers at the industrial park said they heard gunshots.

Drafted by the Patriots from the University of Florida in 2010, Hernandez had a five-year, $40 million contract.

“The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling,” the league said in a Wednesday written statement. “The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd’s family and friends.”

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