New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

Led from home in handcuffs

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday.

Hernandez is accused in last week's shooting death of Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial park area less than a mile from Hernandez's home.

Hernandez "drove the victim to the remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution," First Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley said in court Wednesday.

"He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to conceal and destroy evidence," the prosecutor said.

A judge ordered that Hernandez be held without bail.

Michael Fee, the former NFL player's attorney, had argued that the evidence is circumstantial and that bail should be granted.

Lloyd's family tearfully watched during Wednesday's hearing. They did not speak to reporters after leaving the courthouse.

Hernandez, 23, wore a white T-shirt when he appeared in court at Wednesday's arraignment hearing. He stood beside his attorney, his hands cuffed.

After the court hearing, Fee said Hernandez is "doing fine."

A gag order issued during the hearing stopped attorneys from providing additional details afterward.

The Patriots released Hernandez Wednesday after he was arrested and booked at a police station in North Attleborough.

Prosecutor: Surveillance footage showed Hernandez with gun

After days of secrecy in the closely watched investigation, the prosecutor's comments in court provided the first detailed account of Lloyd's killing and the evidence detectives have uncovered.

A jogger found Lloyd's body, riddled with gunshot wounds, in a secluded area of an industrial park near Hernandez's house June 17, McCauley said.

Investigators later found five shell casings at the scene.

Around 2:30 a.m. that same day, the prosecutor said, Lloyd was last seen leaving his Boston home with Hernandez in a silver Nissan Altima.

Less than an hour later, surveillance cameras at the North Attleborough industrial park showed the vehicle heading toward the remote area where Lloyd's body was later found, McCauley said.

"The car goes down there at 3:22," McCauley said. "Four minutes later, the car is visible again. During the interval between 3:23 and 3:27, people who were working the overnight shift hear gunshots."

Minutes later, surveillance video from Hernandez's home security system shows the former NFL player arriving back at his house with two other people, according to the district attorney. Hernandez appears to be holding a firearm, McCauley said.

"The defendant goes walking through the house with the gun in his hand. That is captured in the video. ... And they all go down to the basement," McCauley said. "Once in the basement, the surveillance gets shut off."

McCauley said the gun Hernandez was carrying in the surveillance video has not been found.

Investigation continues

For the past several days, investigators have been searching the area near Hernandez's home as they have investigated Lloyd's death. Authorities Wednesday said the investigation was ongoing.

It was unclear whether there had been any additional arrests in the case.

"One critical part of this case that we don't know anything about at this point is the two other men (Hernandez is) accused of being with," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Were they shooters? Were they involved? Will they flip against Hernandez? They are obviously key figures in this, and we'll watch how that unfolds."

The Patriots released Hernandez from the team before the charges against him were made public Wednesday.

"Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation," the team said in a statement.

The NFL released its own statement, calling the involvement of a player in the case "deeply troubling."

Both the NFL and Patriots expressed sympathy for the victim's family.

Hernandez's lawyer broke his silence Monday, saying his client has been subjected to "a relentless flood of rumors, misinformation and false reports," including unsubstantiated accounts in some media outlets late last week that an arrest warrant had been issued in connection with the investigation.

On Wednesday, about a half-dozen plainclothes police officers went to Hernandez's house and then led him out in handcuffs. He was wearing a white T-shirt and shorts.

Victim's family reacts

Authorities had been tight-lipped since 27-year-old Lloyd's body was found last week.

Before Wednesday's hearing, Lloyd's sister, Olivia Thibou, said she was glad to hear about Hernandez's arrest.

"God is great," she said. "It's the best news I've had since my brother was killed last week."

On Tuesday, a notice posted at the courthouse said all records relating to the investigation have been "impounded by order of the court."

The move seals all records related to the case, including search warrants.

Lloyd died of gunshot wounds, the prosecutor said Wednesday.

Thibou told CNN last week that Lloyd

and Hernandez were friends who were at a Boston nightclub together a few days before Lloyd's death. She said her brother was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. She did not know when or how her brother and Hernandez met.

Thibou said she did not know of any problems between Hernandez and Lloyd, who worked for a landscaping company. She said she couldn't imagine why anyone would want to kill her brother, whom she described as a friendly guy who was like a father to her 7-year-old daughter.

CNN's Rick Hall and Susan Candiotti reported from North Attleborough. CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN's Rande Iaboni contributed to this report.
 


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