It’s been nearly a week since Aaron Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 27-year-old acquaintance Odin Lloyd. Here’s what’s we’ve learned.
Hernandez is reportedly under investigation in connection with a 2012 double-homicide in Boston. Police reports indicate that a fight broke out at a Boston nightclub last July, and two of the men involved in the dispute were gunned down later that night in a drive-by shooting. Though Hernandez was allegedly at the club that night, law enforcement officials say he was not considered a suspect at the time. Yesterday, CBS Boston reported that a silver SUV with Rhode Island plates was discovered at the home of Hernandez’s uncle and matches the description of the vehicle seen speeding away from the scene of the shooting. Investigators believe that the 2012 shooting may provide a key component missing from prosecutors’ case in the Lloyd homicide: motive. Citing unnamed sources, the Boston Globe reported that Lloyd may have known that Hernandez was involved in the double-homicide and had somehow made Hernandez nervous during their outing to a Boston nightclub just 48 hours before Lloyd was killed.
Two alleged accomplices in the Lloyd homicide have been taken into custody. Prosecutors claim that video evidence shows Carlos Ortiz, 27, and Ernest Wallace, 41, were with Hernandez on the night that Lloyd was killed. Ortiz was arrested in Connecticut before being transferred to Massachusetts last Friday, where he was charged with carrying a firearm without a license. Ortiz pled not guilty and is being held without bail. Wallace turned himself in to authorities in Florida the same day and will be extradited to Massachusetts. According to reports, he will be charged with accessory after the fact to murder. Prosecutors have yet to announce which of the three men they believe actually shot Lloyd five times. Though Hernandez is the only one currently charged with murder, further charges for Ortiz and Wallace could be forthcoming.
Since the beginning of his incarceration at the Bristol County House of Corrections, Hernandez has reportedly been a model inmate. The Bristol County sheriff confirmed that Hernandez does not have any one-on-one contact with other inmates and has not made any special requests. (Hernandez is being tried and incarcerated in Bristol County, Mass., not Bristol, Conn., where the former Patriots tight end grew up and attended high school.) Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said that Hernandez is being kept apart from the prison’s general population in case other inmates “want to make a name for themselves.” Hernandez is allowed out of his cell for three hours each day and is allowed to use the phone and receive visitors, but does not have access to television or the Internet. Hodgson also said that Hernandez has denied any gang affiliations, which was allegedly a concern for law enforcement officials when they same his numerous tattoos.
The Patriots have started a trade-in program for fans to return their Hernandez jersey for that of another player. The exchanges must take place this weekend at the Patriots Pro Shop. “We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t wan them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore, ” said team spokesman Stacey James. One unintended consequence of the charges against Hernandez (and his release by the Patriots) is that the resale value of his jersey has exploded on the Internet, with some selling for more than 400% of the retail price on eBay.
Next court date is July 24. Hernandez is currently scheduled to have his probable cause hearing at the North Attleboro Court in three weeks.