Prosecutors: Bubblegum, texts among trail of evidence in Hernand - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Prosecutors: Bubblegum, texts among trail of evidence in Hernandez's case

By Ben Brumfield and Susan Candiotti, CNN
updated 2:34 PM EDT, Fri Jun 28, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Third man is arrested in murder case featuring former NFL tight end, police say
  • A pack of blue bubblegum may connect Aaron Hernandez end to shell casings
  • A shell casing found in a car Hernandez rented matches those at the murder scene, investigators say
  • No weapon has been found, but photos and video show him holding a pistol, prosecutors say

(CNN) -- Something Odin Lloyd may have done or said didn't sit well with NFL player Aaron Hernandez, prosecutors say.

Two days later, they allege, the football player rounded up some friends and settled the score.

Lloyd's body was found at a Massachusetts gravel pit near Hernandez's North Attleborough home in mid-June, according to investigators. He had been fatally shot with a .45-caliber firearm.

Hernandez faces premeditated murder charges and has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege the former tight end with the New England Patriots orchestrated the hit and carried it out with another man.

Authorities have arrested two others in connection with the case.

Carlos Ortiz, 27, was arrested Wednesday in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Connecticut, and charged as a fugitive from justice, New Britain State's Attorney Brian Preleski said. Documents concerning the charges had been sealed by court order.

In Massachusetts, a warrant for Ortiz's arrest says he faces a charge of possessing a firearm without a license, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

Ortiz was to appear Friday in Bristol Superior Court, a court clerk said.

The other man, Ernest Wallace, was captured in Mirimar, Florida, according to Massachusetts State Police's official Twitter account.

As for Hernandez, the Patriots have dismissed him from the team and ended his multimillion-dollar contract while prosecutors work to build their case against him.

Cell phone records and surveillance camera tapes will link him to the killing and retrace the final moments of Lloyd's life in the wee hours of Monday, June 17, the prosecution says.

And a trail of blue bubblegum colorfully shows Hernandez's path that night, according to prosecutors.

But the defense says the evidence does not add up.

"It is a circumstantial case. It is not a strong case," defense attorney Michael Fee said.

Massachusetts State Police said they are seeking another man as an "accessory after the fact."

Hernandez is also being investigated in connection with an unsolved 2012 double homicide case in Boston, a law enforcement source close to the investigation told CNN.

Over the weekend, Lloyd and Hernandez had a run-in, prosecutors allege.

They had met up at the popular Boston dance club, RumoR, according to Lloyd's sister, Olivia Thibou.

Lloyd, a semipro football player who also worked as a landscaper, was dating the sister of Hernandez' s fiancee.

In predawn hours Monday, Hernandez swung by Lloyd's home to pick him up in a rented silver Nissan Altima, prosecutors say. At some point, two other passengers ended up in the car with them.

They stopped at a gas station and made a purchase. But one that sticks out as evidence -- a pack of blue bubblegum.

Prosecutors say that cell phone towers nearby tracked the men's movements. Lloyd had his phone on and texted his sister at 3:23 a.m., very likely minutes before his death.

"NFL. Just so you know," he texted his sister to let her know who he was with.

About 3:25 a.m. -- two minutes after the message -- gunshots shattered the quiet night, according to witnesses.

Not five minutes passed before a surveillance camera captured video of Hernandez carrying a gun as he arrived back at his home, prosecutors say.

He was with two other people. Lloyd was not among them.

A murder weapon is usually a key piece of evidence in a homicide case, and investigators have not been able to turn one up.

But Hernandez at least once had a Glock .45, prosecutors say, entering a cell phone photo into evidence of him posing in the mirror with it.

And police have seized .45-caliber ammunition and an ammunition magazine that were in a Hummer SUV he drove and a condo he rented.

Hernandez and the other two later took the car back to the rental company.

There, the defendant offered an attendant a piece of blue Bubblicious, prosecutors say.

What appeared to be a piece of chewed blue gum was left lying inside the vehicle, prosecutors say. Next to it was a spent .45-caliber casing.

The casing matches the empty shells Investigators recovered near Lloyd's body, prosecutors say.

If that gum was in Hernandez's mouth, DNA tests will connect him to the casings, prosecutors say.

When investigators inspected Lloyd's body, they found keys in his pockets to a rental car registered in Hernandez's name.

Article on CNN.com

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