Aaron Hernandez charged with first degree murder

Updated Friday at 2:15 p.m.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in the first degree and arraigned on five additional gun charges when he made his first appearance in front of an Attleboro District Court judge on Wednesday.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and will be held without bail.

Hernandez, who was arrested at approximately 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at his North Attleboro, MA, home, has been the center of an investigation by Massachusetts State Police since Monday, June 17 following the “execution-style” murder of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.

The Patriots released Hernandez two hours after his arrest.

In addition to being charged with first degree murder at the arraignment, Hernandez was charged with carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of possession of a large-capacity firearm, and two counts of possession of a firearm without an owner’s identification card (one including ammunition).

Attorneys Michael K. Fee and James L. Sultan represented Hernandez in court as Bristol Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley detailed a wide variety of circumstantial evidence the state has already uncovered implicating Hernandez in Lloyd’s murder.

The state has used surveillance evidence and cellular tower tracking data to place a vehicle containing Hernandez, Lloyd and two other men at the scene of the crime. Two minutes after shots were heard in the area, the vehicle arrived at Hernandez’s home, which is two minutes away from the crime scene.

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Hernandez arrested then released by Patriots

UPDATED STORY: Aaron Hernandez charged with first degree murder

Tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested at his North Attleboro, MA, home on Wednesday morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. and officially released by the New England Patriots just under two hours later.

Hernandez, who has been under intense scrutiny since June 17 when Massachusetts State Police centered a homicide investigation in and around his $1.3 million, 5,600-square foot house, has yet to be arraigned or officially charged with a crime. That will occur in a Attleboro District Court at some point Wednesday.

Following Hernandez’s arraignment, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter will issue a statement and take questions from the press.

Over the last 10 days, police have searched Hernandez’s home three times. They last visited it on Saturday with approximately 20 officers and two K9s, removing multiple bags of evidence from the premises. On Sunday, police searched a swampland area behind the house but were reportedly unable to find anything of significance.

Attorney Michael K. Fee, a lawyer representing Hernandez, released the following statement on behalf of his client on Monday night.

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Foley defends Florida’s handling of Hernandez

Though New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has yet to be charged with a crime, a North Attleboro, MA, homicide investigation that appears to be focused on the player and his home has brought the his past decisions into question.

When New England selected Hernandez with the No. 113 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it did so knowing he had plenty of red flags.

He had supposedly smoked marijuana and hung out with a bad crowd in high school. He got arrested as a 17-year-old freshman with the Florida Gators after he got into a fight with a bouncer at a bar. (Hernandez was charged as a juvenile and accepted deferred prosecution). He was also questioned in a 2008 shooting in Gainesville, FL, though he spoke with police as a potential eyewitness and not a suspect, a fact conveniently left out of many reports about the incident.

Most alarming for the Patriots and other NFL teams, however, was information they learned that was also contained in a report published by the Boston Globe shortly after Hernandez was drafted by New England.

The story, citing sources from three NFL teams that knew about Hernandez’s background and supposed problems at Florida, noted that he did not just fail a drug test in 2008 (which led to a one-game suspension, the only contest he missed during his three years with the Gators). Rather, a “longtime executive” claimed, Hernandez failed from 4-6 drug tests while at Florida and was not punished accordingly.

“He had multiple positive tests, so he either had issues or he’s dumb. One or two tests? Fine. But four, five, six? Come on, now you’ve got an addiction,” the NFL executive said.

Though the Gators did not address the Globe report at the time, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley did just that on Tuesday.

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Hernandez sued for shooting a man in Miami

Updated Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

While Massachusetts State Police attempt to sort out a homicide investigation after finding a body less than one mile from the North Attleboro, MA, home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, it appears as if the former Florida Gators star is dealing with another – believed to be separate – legal issue.

According to Sports Illustrated and at least two tabloid outlets, a civil lawsuit was filed against Hernandez on June 13 alleging that he shot an acquaintance in a car during a Feb. 13 outing in Miami, FL. The lawsuit was withdrawn on June 17 for technical reasons but is expected to be refiled on Wednesday unless otherwise resolved.

Only June 13, a Hernandez acquaintance, Alexander S. Bradley, filed a civil complaint against Hernandez in U.S. District Court alleging that a gun — in Hernandez’s possession illegally — discharged and shot Bradley in the face, causing the loss of his right eye. The suit alleges Hernandez and Bradley argued at Tootsie’s strip club in Miami. The gun discharged while Hernandez, Bradley and other associates were returning from Miami to Palm Beach.

SI obtained complaint documents showing Bradley demanding in excess of $100,000. The underlying facts of the complaint include Hernandez and Bradley being in a car with two other persons driving from Miami to Palm Beach when the gun discharged. Bradley is claiming recklessness, carelessness and negligence on the part of Hernandez for illegally possessing and improperly using a firearm.

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Hernandez questioned in homicide investigation

Updated on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been questioned by Massachusetts State Police as part of a homicide investigation.

Though Hernandez is “not believed to be a murder suspect,” according to Sports Illustrated‘s sources, ABC News reports that “investigators are seeking a warrant to search Hernandez’s home in connection with the death.”

Hernandez resides in at a $1.3 million, 5,600-square foot house in North Attleboro, MA. The body of a 27-year-old male, described by ABC News as an “associate” of Hernandez, was found less than a mile from his home on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Additionally, a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban rented in Hernandez’s name “has emerged as a key piece of evidence in the investigation,” according to SI.

ABC News, citing two sources, reports that Hernandez had not been cooperating with police; however, SI, citing “a source close to Hernandez,” notes that he has at least spoken with authorities seeking information about the murder.

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Patriots set to sign Gators QB Tim Tebow

Just over one month after being waived by the New York Jets, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has found a home with the team that always seemed like the best fit for his unique talents and personality. According to multiple media reports, Tebow will sign with the New England Patriots on Monday and be in uniform for the first day of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

The Patriots are acquiring Tebow as a quarterback, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder, and have already waived third-stringer Mike Kafka in order to bring the former Heisman Trophy winner into the fold. New England had previously looked to trade back-up signal caller Ryan Mallett, who just happens to wear Tebow’s No. 15, earlier in the offseason.

Joining the Patriots, Tebow reunites with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who selected him with the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft while serving as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

“The thing that really makes this unique and gives it real potential is the presence of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels,” Werder reported Monday on SportsCenter. “He believes he has the ability to teach mechanics to quarterbacks. He was undergoing that process with Tebow on a daily basis in Denver his rookie year.”

Ironically, a Yahoo! Sports report from May noted that New England head coach Bill Belichick “hated” Tebow as a football player. Four days ago, Belichick emphatically refuted that report to ESPNBoston.com.

“Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible. It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported,” he said.

In fact, Werder explained on SportsCenter that this move had been discussed by the two parties and under consideration for a long time.

“One of the things the Patriots wanted to see before they agreed to do this deal with Tebow was they wanted to see him maintain a low-key presence throughout the offseason. And to the extend he could control that, he certainly delivered on it.”

Tebow barely contributed to the Jets in 2012, seeing the field in just 12 games and rarely playing on offense. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 39 yards and took 32 carries for 102 yards, never once finding the end zone.

OGGOA RELATED: The Silver Lining – Tim Tebow’s release is an opportunity

One year earlier, as a mid-season replacement at quarterback for the Broncos, Tebow set the league on fire by leading his team to numerous come-from-behind victories and seven wins in eight games from Weeks 7-14.

Tebow also threw a game-winning overtime touchdown against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs. He went 10-of-21 for 316 yards with two passing touchdowns and carried the ball 10 times for 50 yards and a rushing score in that game.

Tebow joins former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham with the Patriots. All four were key players in Florida winning the 2008 national title.

Photo Credit: ESPN

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FOUR BITS: Hernandez, Nelson, Young, Yeguete

1 » New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who underwent minor shoulder surgery back in April, was originally supposed to miss a few weeks of action before rumors popped up that he could start the season on the physically unable to perform list. Instead, according to reporters in attendance, Hernandez was already back on the field catching passes (non-contact) during organized team activities this week. In other words, he should be healthy enough to be fully cleared for practice during training camp over the summer. With teammate Rob Gronkowski looking like he will not be able to start the season on time, Hernandez has the opportunity to once again be a big-time playmaker for New England’s offense.

2 » Cleveland Browns wide receiver David Nelson is also working his way back from an injury, a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that kept him out the entire 2012 campaign. Nelson, signed by Cleveland in early April, will be competing for a roster spot during training camp and told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he will be good to go by the time it opens on July 26.

3 » Florida Gators senior basketball players center Patric Young and forward Will Yeguete often participate in charitable work both on behalf of the school and on their own. The duo, which are close friends off the court, recently befriended a three-year-old named Kaedyn Ballew who was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 10 months old. This story from the Florida Times-Union takes a look at the friendship forged between Ballew, Young and Yeguete and how it has extended well past the players’ initial visit. “Some [people] are impressed by our size,” Yeguete told the paper. “Kaedyn is not. He thinks that he’s stronger than us. He’s really confident. That’s pretty cool.” Ballew, who has been given a 50 percent chance at a full recovery, hopes to watch the Gators play in person next season while eating “nachos with lots of cheese.”

4 » OGGOA mistakenly overlooked the start of the 2013 MLB, forgetting to put together a short preview of former Florida baseball players on big league rosters. Therefore, here is a listing of the five Gators playing in MLB on Opening Day and how they have fared just over two months into the season.

Right-handed pitcher Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles): GP (27), W/L (3-0), SV (1), ERA (1.78), WHIP (1.11), K/9 (1.04)
Catcher David Ross (Boston Red Sox): GP (18), AVG (.189), OBP (.283), SLG (.453), OPS (.736) – Hit .125 in May.
Left-handed pitcher Nick Maronde (Los Angeles Angels): GP (3), W/L (0-0), ERA (11.57), WHIP (2.14), K/9 (0.95) – Sent down to the minors.
Second baseman Mark Ellis (Los Angeles Dodgers): GP (35), AVG (.270), OBP (.319), SLG (.352), OPS (.671)
Left-handed pitcher Steven Rodriguez (Los Angeles Dodgers): GP (27), W/L (1-2), ERA (2.75), WHIP (0.71), K/9 (1.04)

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SIX BITS: George, Bostic, Demps, Tebow, Caldwell

Aside from a story specifically about the events that took place on Monday, OGGOA chose to refrain from posting new material out of respect for those in Boston, MA. Below are six stories from Monday that we did not cover at the time.

1 » Senior forward Jennifer George was chosen with the No. 33 overall pick in the third round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever on Monday, becoming the first Florida Gators women’s basketball to be selected in the event since Sha Brooks in 2009. George is the 17th Florida player to ever be picked in the WNBA Draft and joins an Indiana team that concluded the 2012 season by winning the league title. She will not, however, be the only former member of the Gators to be a part of the Fever as former Florida head coach Mickie DeMoss is currently serving as an assistant coach.

2 » Could senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic be the third Florida player selected in next week’s 2013 NFL Draft. According to veteran analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, Bostic – who is widely expected to be a third-round selection – may be drafted even higher. “In recent conversations, I’ve been told it’s a distinct possibility he could slip into the late part of the second frame,” Pauline writes. “Teams like the fact that Bostic is a three-down defender and offers the potential of being a day-one starter.”

3 » After informing the New England Patriots that he had decided to return to the track but also hoped to continue his football career – a move that would involve missing much of training camp and perhaps even a few early-season games – running back Jeff Demps was thought to be a goner from the organization. And while that may very well wind up being the case, the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that another option may be on the table – a trade. Demps’s agent Daniel Rose told Howe that the Patriots have discussed a possibility, which is not much of a surprise considering New England’s propensity for making deals (especially around draft time).

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: George, Bostic, Demps, Tebow, Caldwell

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