Ex-Patriot Hernandez indicted on murder charge - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Ex-Patriot Hernandez indicted on murder charge

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  • Ex-Patriot Hernandez due in court in murder case

    Ex-Patriot Hernandez due in court in murder case

    Thursday, August 22 2013 8:24 AM EDT2013-08-22 12:24:41 GMT
    ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) - Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez is due to appear again in court for a hearing on what evidence prosecutors have in the murder case against him. A probable cause hearingMore >
    Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez is due to appear again in court for a hearing on what evidence prosecutors have in the murder case against him. A probable cause hearingMore >
NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA (WFSB) -

A Massachusetts grand jury has indicted former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on murder and several weapon's charges.

Charges stem from the death of his friend, semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. The indictment came the day Hernandez was due in court on a probable cause hearing.

Thursday, Hernandez's attorney said his client would be exonerated. However, Hernandez was indicted on first-degree murder plus four weapons charges.

"He's bearing up under the pressure and understands what's in front of him, and is committed to clearing his name," said Michael Fee, who is the attorney for Hernandez.

A probable cause hearing would have allowed both sides to present their evidence, and argue against their opponents. Instead, with this indictment, everything moves to another court.

Hernandez is accused of killing Lloyd execution-style in June. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. His body was found in an industrial area about a mile from the former Patriots tight end's home.

Fee expressed disappointment the probable cause hearing did not come to pass.

"Aaron Hernandez is an innocent man as we stand here today," Fee said. "He is presumed innocent under our system, he remains innocent under our system, and now we are one step closer to a trial."

Hernandez's attorney said they were looking forward to testing the prosecution's evidence.

"There has been an incredible rush to judgment in this case," Fee said. "It has been based on innuendo and misrepresentation of facts, hearsay and opinion has been presented as fact and as evidence, and it is not."

Since the murder, investigators have found themselves in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol on many occasions. His uncle's home was searched, an SUV towed for evidence, and divers scoured a nearby lake in Bristol, looking for the murder weapon.

Two men from Bristol are also facing charges in connection with the case, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace.

Police said they believe Wallace, Hernandez's girlfriend, and a cousin from Bristol have all made attempts to hide evidence and mislead the investigation.

On Thursday, a new Connecticut connection with one that had the defense filing a motion of obstruction of justice.

"The allegation is that a witness in Connecticut at a prison was told by a detective, a Connecticut detective, that they were there to help Aaron," said Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter. "Of course, that's one side's version, we haven't had a chance to look into it."

Inmate named in motion was Everett Garcia, Jr., who was incarcerated in Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville. Garcia allegedly said he only answered the questions from the detective because they said they would help.

The family of alleged victim Lloyd filled two rows in the courthouse Thursday. The family, who were all wearing the color purple, left and arrived together. Lloyd's mother wore a pin with her son's photo and the words, "legends never die."

"My heart goes out to the Lloyd family," Sutter said. "I just met with about 10 of his family members. This is a grim profession."

Sutter said he's also glad to see this case move on as it should, but they're a long way from justice.

Sutter also mentioned the other cases under investigation that involve Hernandez. He said those don't have any impact this case and he's focusing solely on this case.

Hernandez will be arraigned again in superior court.

The date for that has not yet been set, but is expected to come in the next few weeks. Then this case moves toward a trial and a jury.

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