Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty today to murder and gun charges in connection with the death of a Dorchester man.
Hernandez, 23, was charged with murder and possessing a firearm without a license, possessing a large capacity firearm and a firearm without an ID card. He was held without bail after entering the plea inside a packed Attleboro District Court room.
He was arrested at his North Attleboro home at 8:47 a.m. Wednesday, and released from the New England Patriots shortly afterward.
Semi-professional Boston football player Odin Lloyd, 27, was found dead in an industrial complex just a mile from Hernandez's home on June 17. Prosecutors this afternoon said five bullet shells were recovered at the crime scene. Three shells were at Lloyd's feet, and two were near his head. Investigators claimed they pieced together surveillance from Boston to Attleboro to put Hernandez and Lloyd at the scene together.
Hernandez's attorney argued that his client was "a homeowner" and "a resident of North Attleboro" and that he be allowed to return home to his fiance because he has cooperated fully with investigation and is not a flight risk. He also argued that the case relies on circumstantial evidence, and therefore is not a strong one.
The Patriots released a statement earlier today, saying that "words cannot express" their disappointment.
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. 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.” [embedgallery id=173245]
Wearing a white T-shirt and athletic shorts, Hernandez was led out of his home in handcuffs and put in a police cruiser waiting in the driveway.
Hernandez appeared before a judge at Attleboro District Court at 2:30 p.m. today, surrounded by a swarm of media. The high profile case has garnered attention since news broke of Hernandez's apparent involvement.
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter plans to issue a statement after today's arraignment.
Massachusetts State Police announced in a tweet that Hernandez was arrested shortly after they obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday morning.
Stay with Metro Boston as this story progresses.