Breaking Down the Case Against Aaron Hernandez

CC image Aaron Hernandez by Aaron Frutman on FlickrThe 24-hour news cycle has recently been dominated by the trials and tribulations of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriot accused of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

While additional details will likely surface in the coming weeks, we decided to break down everything we know about the prosecution’s case against Hernandez.

The Parties Involved

According to the suit, Hernandez and two acquaintances are being interviewed for their involvement in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. Hernandez and Lloyd knew each other, as Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend. It is not yet certain if any of the parties have implicated who may have pulled the trigger.

Days Before The Murder

According to prosecutors, Hernandez was seen at a nightclub with Lloyd early Saturday morning, approximately 48 hours before Lloyd was killed. Prosecutors say a witness said Hernandez was upset that Lloyd was speaking with certain individuals at the nightclub. Hernandez reportedly had a bad history with the people Lloyd was associating with at the club. Hernandez was later heard saying he “didn’t know who he could trust anymore.”

The Night In Question

Prosecutors outlined a timeline of events that they say occurred in the hours leading up to Lloyd’s death. Prosecutors say video evidence shows:

  • Aaron Hernandez, in his home in the hours before the murder, holding a handgun.
  • Hernandez at a gas station in Dorchester and North Attleborough, around the time of Lloyd’s death.
  • Odin Lloyd, entering an industrial yard where he was later found dead.

In addition to video evidence, prosecutors pointed to a handful of text messages that they say shows Hernandez was with the victim in the moments before Lloyd’s death. Phone records show sometime after 3 a.m., Lloyd sent a text to his sister, saying, “Did you see who I am with?” When she asked who he was with, Lloyd responded, “NFL”. At 3:22 a.m., he sent the ominous message “Just so you know.”

Employees working the overnight shift at the industrial plant say they heard gunshots sometime between 3:23 a.m. and 3:27 a.m. Lloyd’s body was discovered in the yard a few hours later.

The Charges

Aaron Hernandez has been charged with one count of murder in the first-degree, one count of carrying a firearm without a license, and four counts weapons possession.

  • For the murder charge, Hernandez faces the possibility of life in jail without the possibility of parole.
  • For the carrying a firearm without a permit charge, Hernandez could face 18 months to 5 years in prison.
  • For the weapons possession charges, Hernandez could face 2.5 to 10 years in prison.

A second person is also being held in connection with the death of Lloyd.

Bubble Gum Blues

Prosecutors say a key piece of evidence was found in Hernandez’s rental car that places him near the scene on the night in question. At 2:10 a.m., roughly an hour before shots rang out in the industrial yard, Hernandez was recorded filing up his gas tank at a gas station on Route 128. Hernandez also went into the store and purchased a pack of Bubblicious Blue Cotton Candy bubble gum.

When Hernandez returned the rental car Monday afternoon, an employee found a bullet shell casing under the driver’s seat, near a wad of Bubblicious Blue Cotton Candy bubble gum.

What’s Next?

Hernandez is being held at the Bristol County Jail without bail. He id due in court Thursday to have his request for bail reviewed. He also has a scheduled court date on July 24.

Related source:  Boston Herald, Boston Globe, NBC News

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Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.
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