Professional football player Aaron Hernandez was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murder in the shooting death of a friend prosecutors say had angered him at a nightclub a few days earlier by talking to the wrong people.
Hernandez, 23, was taken from his home in handcuffs just more than a week after Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park 1.6km away.
Less than two hours after the arrest, the Patriots said they had cut Hernandez, who signed a US$40 million contract last year
Lloyd was a 27-year-old Boston Bandits player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. He was shot multiple times on a secluded 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 hearing where Hernandez was ordered held without bail on murder charges and weapons counts.
McCauley said the slaying stemmed from a night out at a Boston club on June 14. He said Hernandez was upset about certain things, including that Lloyd had talked to some people Hernandez “had troubles with.”
Two days later, on the night of June 16, Hernandez texted two friends, asking them to hurry back to Massachusetts, McCauley said.
Surveillance footage from Hernandez’s home shows him leaving with a gun and he told someone in the house that he was upset, the prosecutor said.
The three men picked up Lloyd at his home at about 2:30am, the authorities said. As they drove around in a 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 replied: “NFL,” then, a minute later, he sent one final text: “Just so you know.”
Within a few minutes, people working at the industrial park reported gunshots and surveillance video shows the car going into the park and emerging four minutes later, McCauley said.
Hernandez then returned home, and he and another man are seen on his home surveillance system with guns, he added
Hernandez and his friends later returned the car to the rental agency, where an attendant found a .45 caliber casing in the car.