NFL Star Denied Bail In Murder Case

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FALL RIVER, Mass.
(AP) — A judge on Thursday denied bail for former New England
Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with first-degree
murder in the shooting death of a friend.

Hernandez's lawyer argued that Hernandez is not a risk to flee and the case against him is circumstantial.

But
a prosecutor said the evidence is “overwhelming.” A search of a condo
leased by Hernandez turned up an ammunition clip matching the caliber of
casings found at the scene of the killing of Odin Lloyd, the prosecutor
said.

Lloyd's body was discovered by a jogger
in a remote area of an industrial park not far from Hernandez's home 10
days ago. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors
called Lloyd's killing an execution-style shooting orchestrated by
Hernandez because his friend talked to the wrong people at a nightclub.
Hernandez could face life in prison, if convicted.

Hernandez
was cut from the NFL team less than two hours after he was arrested and
led from his North Attleborough home in handcuffs, and nine days after
Lloyd's body was discovered. The 2011 Pro Bowl selection had signed a
five-year contract last summer with the Patriots worth $40 million.

Another
man, Carlos Ortiz, 27, was arrested Wednesday in Hernandez's hometown
of Bristol, Conn., as part of the murder investigation, New Britain
State's Attorney Brian Preleski said Thursday. Ortiz was charged as a
fugitive from justice and waived extradition to Massachusetts. Prison
records show he is being held on $1.5 million bail at a Hartford jail.

Ortiz's public defender, Alfonzo Sirica, declined to comment about the case.

In
the meantime, police have been searching a third-floor unit in a condo
complex in Franklin, Mass., that Hernandez had visited in recent weeks,
according to the unit's next-door neighbor.

Condo
resident Carol Bailey said that starting Wednesday and continuing
Thursday, police removed items from the modest, two-bedroom rental unit
and asked her questions about its occupants. She said a new tenant told
her in May that he was moving in with his cousin, and she realized later
that the second man he had referred to that way was the Patriots
player.

“I thought, `This is Aaron Hernandez.
He's renting a place here so he can have some peace and quiet,'” the
retiree said Thursday.

The Ledgewood
Condominiums resident said she didn't see the two men often, but
Hernandez always had a hoodie pulled up when she saw him.

“I think all of us who recognized who it was didn't want to invade his privacy,” she said of neighbors.

Lloyd,
27, a semi-pro football player with the Boston Bandits, had known
Hernandez for about a year and was dating the sister of Hernandez's
fiancee, the mother of Hernandez's 8-month-old baby, Bristol County
Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley said.

On
June 14, Lloyd went with Hernandez to the Boston nightclub Rumor.
McCauley said Hernandez was upset Lloyd had talked to people there with
whom Hernandez had trouble. He did not elaborate.

Two
days later, McCauley said, Hernandez texted two unidentified friends
and asked them to hurry to Massachusetts from Connecticut. At 9:05 p.m.,
a few minutes after the first message to his friends, Hernandez texted
Lloyd to tell him he wanted to get together, McCauley said.

Later,
surveillance footage from Hernandez's home showed his friends arrive
and go inside. Hernandez, holding a gun, then told someone in the house
he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.

At
1:12 a.m. June 17, the three left in Hernandez's rented silver Nissan
Altima, McCauley said. Cell towers tracked their movements to a gas
station off the highway. There, he said, Hernandez bought blue
Bubblicious gum.

At 2:32 a.m., they arrived
outside Lloyd's home in Boston and texted him that they were there.
McCauley said Lloyd's sister saw him get into Hernandez's car.

From
there, surveillance cameras captured images of what the prosecutor said
was Hernandez driving the silver Altima through Boston. As they drove
back toward North Attleborough, Hernandez told Lloyd he was upset about
what happened at the club and didn't trust him, McCauley said. That was
when Lloyd began sending texts to his sister.

Surveillance
video showed the car entering the industrial park and at 3:23 a.m.
driving down a gravel road near where Lloyd's body was found. Four
minutes later, McCauley said, the car emerged. During that period,
employees working an overnight shift nearby heard several gunshots,
McCauley said.

McCauley said Lloyd was shot
multiple times, including twice from above as he was lying on the
ground. He said five .45-caliber casings were found at the scene.

Authorities did not say who fired the shots or identify the two others with Hernandez.

At
3:29 a.m., surveillance at Hernandez's house showed him arriving and
walking through the house with a gun in his hand, McCauley said.

His friend is also seen holding a gun, and neither weapon has been found, McCauley said.

Then, the surveillance system stopped recording, and footage was missing from the six to eight hours after the slaying, he said.

The
afternoon of June 17, the prosecutor said, Hernandez returned the
rental car, offering the attendant a piece of blue Bubblicious gum when
he dropped it off. While cleaning the car, the attendant found a piece
of blue Bubblicious gum and a shell casing, which he threw away. Police
later searched the trash bin and found the gum and the casing. The
prosecutor said it was tested and matched the casings found where Lloyd
was killed.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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