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Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel. Aaron Hernandez, now a former tight end for the New England Patriots, was charged with murder today. Hernandez was arrested early this morning in connection with the death of an acquaintance. Soon after, he was cut by the Patriots. And this afternoon, Hernandez was in court, arraigned on murder charges and five gun charges. He pleaded not guilty. NPR's Mike Pesca is following the story. Hi, Mike.


SIEGEL: This acquaintance of Aaron Hernandez named Odin Lloyd was found dead more than a week ago. What do we know about his death?

PESCA: Well, the acquaintanceship seems to be, a local Boston TV station is reporting, that Hernandez's girlfriend and Lloyd's girlfriend were sisters or perhaps someone that Lloyd was dating at the time were sisters. That at least was one connection. And a couple of weeks ago, this would be Sunday night or Monday morning, technically, Hernandez was apparently upset with something that Odin Lloyd said at a nightclub, and he began driving Odin Lloyd around in a rented car with two other people who have not been identified.

It's actually not known definitively if police are in contact with these people, have these people in custody or even receiving cooperation from them. But after driving around for at least an hour, they pulled into an industrial park less than an hour from Aaron Hernandez's home, and it was there that the prosecutor alleges that Aaron Hernandez shot and killed Odin Lloyd. There are surveillance video putting the people in the car, putting Hernandez out of the car.

Prosecutors said they received - recovered shell casings from the scene. There were many texts, and there's also some evidence that Hernandez destroyed the surveillance system in his home and changed cars. And though there is no direct evidence, it is a strong circumstantial case. That's what the prosecution described it as. The defense, really, had nothing to say.

SIEGEL: Hernandez was arrested at his home today and then appeared in court. How did he look? And did he have any emotion or reaction from what you gathered?

PESCA: You know, it was odd when he was arrested. They knew - people suspected the arrest was coming. When exactly it happened was something of a surprise. They cuffed him while he was shirtless and put a T-shirt on over him. So there he was walking out of the house in red shorts, a white T-shirt without any arms in it and flip-flops. That's how he appeared in court. I've heard his or read about his demeanor being described as glaring but also being described as expressionless.

Yeah, everyone could make their own judgment. There's a tape of this that'll be replayed on the loop on the sports stations for a long time. I would say he licked his lips at one point. He looked displeased. He didn't vocalize at all. The entire defense team didn't really say anything all day. There is a gag order by the judge.

SIEGEL: Perhaps the least of Hernandez's problems today, he was cut by the New England Patriots. What did they say about that move?

PESCA: Yeah. And, of course, we'll acknowledge that a man is dead, so juxtaposing the personnel decisions of an NFL team with that tragedy is - it's, you know, out of proportion. And yet, we're talking about it because Hernandez is a pro athlete, and people are interested. Hernandez signed a huge contract. But if he is incarcerated, he - the Patriots could get that money back.

The Patriots did not have to cut Hernandez at this point. Other stars charged with serious crimes have been held by their teams, but the Patriots just said it was the right thing to do.

SIEGEL: And in the case against Hernandez, what are the next steps?

PESCA: There's no bail in this case. It could be a year or so before it goes to trial. But the charges, which are first-degree murder and five serious gun charges, do bring with them a possible life sentence.

SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Mike.

PESCA: You're welcome.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Mike Pesca reporting on the murder charges filed today against the former tight end for the New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent for NPR based in New York City.
Robert Siegel
Robert Siegel is senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel is still at it hosting the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reporting on stories and happenings all over the globe. As a host, Siegel has reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.