Story Summary

Aaron Hernandez Investigation

hernandez 4Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, has been at the center of the investigation into the death of a Boston man.

He was arrested and and faces charges for the murder of Odin Lloyd and illegal possession of a firearm.

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Aaron Hernandez Appears In Court

(WTIC)

By Jenny Wilson, Hartford Courant

 

A Massachusetts judge Friday imposed a gag order that prevents parties in the Aaron Hernandez murder case from discussing evidence, and said in her ruling that the heightened attention to the former NFL star’s legal troubles merits extra steps to ensure he receives a fair trial.

Hernandez’s defense lawyers had sought the gag order, and accused the prosecution of leaking information in the nearly six-month old case. The former New England Patriot star from Bristol was arrested last June and charged with murder in the shooting death of his friend, Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

The order prohibits both sides from discussing details about the case outside of court. Fall River Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh acknowledged that the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office does not have control over all the agencies involved in the investigation, but said the government should take “reasonable care” to ensure that confidential information does not get leaked to the media.

Garsh said prosecutors should not only provide written guidance to law enforcement officers in agencies they do not directly supervise, but also should take steps to ensure those individuals understand and agree to comply with the policies. She ordered the prosecution to investigate media leaks, and pursue or suggest disciplinary action if a violation does occur.

Hernandez’s defense team had accused the prosecution of “orchestrating a publicity stunt” when they served a subpoena to Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey at Gillette Stadium last fall. Pouncey and Hernandez were teammates at the University of Florida, and their social media profiles indicate they have remained close friends. Sources confirmed to the Courant that Pouncey was subpoenaed to testify because he may have knowledge of the former Patriot tight end’s alleged illegal gun activity. Hernandez also faces six illegal weapons counts, after detectives found weapons and ammunition during searches of Hernandez’s homes and vehicles. The murder weapon has not been recovered.

Earlier in this month, prosecutors revealed in court that federal authorities investigating Hernandez interviewed an individual in Belle Glade, Flor. Authorities previously have said that one of the guns seized in the case was traced back to a purchase from a store in Belle Glade.

Hernandez has been held without bail since his June 26 arrest. He also is a suspect in a 2012 double homicide in Boston. Authorities investigating that case, a drive-by shooting in the South End, said in previously released court documents that they believe Hernandez drove the suspect vehicle and may have been the shooter.

 

Story by Jenny Wilson, Hartford Courant; Video by John Charlton, FOX CT 

 

Former NFL star and accused killer Aaron Hernandez is scheduled to appear Friday in Fall River, Mass. Superior Court.

Charged with murder in the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, Hernandez has been held without bail since his late-June arrest at his home in North Attleboro, Mass. Prosecutors last week filed a motion to obtain recordings of Hernandez’s prison phone conversations, after officials from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department provided them with details about the content of the calls.

A judge must grant the request in order for the prosecution to gain access to the full recordings, and arguments on the motion are expected at Friday’s hearing. Prosecutors said in their filing that Hernandez spoke in code when he discussed the Lloyd killing in jailhouse calls. They said he made incriminating statements when denying ownership of a vehicle connected to the investigation, and that he referenced “related prior offenses.”

In addition to the murder charge, Hernandez, a Bristol native, faces multiple gun charges and is being investigated as a suspect in a 2012 double homicide in Boston.

Aaron Hernandez not guilty plea

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty Friday, September 6, 2013, in the death of Odin Lloyd. (CNN photo)

Prosecutors said in court documents released Friday that former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez discussed the Odin Lloyd murder in jailhouse phone calls, speaking in code and referencing a car that is part of the investigation.

They filed a motion Thursday to obtain records of the former NFL star’s telephone conversations after officials from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department provided them with details about the content of the calls.

Hernandez, accused of Lloyd’s execution-style shooting death, has been imprisoned in Massachusetts since he was arrested and charged with murder in June. Lloyd, a resident of Dorchester, Mass., was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. His bullet-ridden body was found blocks from the former Patriot’s mansion in North Attleboro, Mass.

Hernandez’s inmate phone records include conversations the Bristol, Conn., native had with individuals charged in the case and others, according to prosecutors. They say Hernandez spoke in “coded messages” while on the phone with people outside of jail. The court papers also say Hernandez referenced “related prior offenses.”

Hernandez is also being investigated as a suspect in a drive-by shooting that killed two men in Boston in 2012. Boston detectives re-opened their investigation last summer after receiving a tip that the same person responsible for Lloyd’s death also was involved in the double homicide.

 

Read more at Courant.com 

By Jenny Wilson, Hartford Courant

A just-released search warrant provides new details into why Boston law enforcement authorities have identified accused killer and former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez as a suspect in a 2012 double homicide.

The document, filed as part of the probe and released Tuesday in Superior Court in Bristol, indicates police suspect that Hernandez was in an SUV that circled a block waiting for the victims to enter their own vehicle before the 2 a.m. drive-by shooting. The silver SUV then pulled up next to the victims’ car at a stoplight, and someone inside fired five or six shots in rapid progression, killing two and injuring one of the five men in the other car. The warrant does not indicate whether there is evidence that Hernandez was the man who pulled the trigger.

Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado were killed in the gunfire early on July 16, 2012, shortly after they left Cure Lounge with three of their friends. Earlier in the night, surveillance footage showed Hernandez and Alexander Bradley –who filed a civil lawsuit accusing Hernandez of shooting him in the eye in February – at the same Boston nightclub.

The men in the gray BMW sprayed with gunfire that night have no apparent connection to Hernandez, a Bristol native. Nothing in the document— a search warrant application for phone calls Bradley made while he was in prison in Connecticut — suggests a motive for the killings. The search warrant is the first public record released in the Boston homicide investigation, and the first detailed narrative of Hernandez’s actions that night.

Bradley was incarcerated at Hartford Correctional Center last fall, charged as a fugitive witness after he avoided authorities who tried to subpoena him to appear before the grand jury probing the double slaying. Police obtained a warrant to access recordings of phone calls he made from prison after a Department of Correction official told a Bristol detective that Bradley was discussing details of the Boston homicide investigation on those calls, which were made between Oct. 4 and Oct. 15.

Prosecutors in the Boston case have not filed charges, but The Courant previously has reported that Hernandez is the target of the investigation into the shooting that occurred a month before he signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the Patriots.

Hernandez became a suspect in the Boston slayings after being charged with murder in the June 17 death of Odin Lloyd near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, Mass. The warrant indicates that authorities received an anonymous tip that, combined with their own memory of surveillance footage from the night of the shooting, led them to investigate the former tight end.

When a Boston detective learned of Hernandez’s suspected involvement in Lloyd’s death, he recalled noticing Hernandez at Cure Lounge when viewing surveillance footage the previous summer. Boston authorities then were informed of an anonymous call that North Attleborough police received from an employee of Rumor nightclub, the Boston establishment that Hernandez and Lloyd visited two days before Lloyd’s death and the location at which prosecutors say the two men had a disagreement that eventually led to Lloyd’s shooting.

Sharif Hashem, a security supervisor at Rumor, phoned North Attleborough police on June 22 and claimed to have information that the Loyd shooting and the Boston double homicide were related, according to the warrant released Tuesday. He told authorities a patron of Rumor nightclub “accidentally spilled the beans in front of me.”

As a result, Boston police reopened their probe with a focus on Hernandez. They since have seized the murder weapon in the case and towed the silver SUV they believe was used in the Boston shooting from a Hernandez family home in Bristol.

Surveillance footage from just after midnight on June 16 shows Hernandez arriving at a parking garage in Boston, driving a silver Toyota 4Runner with Rhode Island plates, the warrant states. The same car was seized in June from 114 Lake Ave., the Bristol home owned by Hernandez’s uncle, after authorities recovered it during a search for evidence in the Lloyd case.

A different camera later captured Hernandez and Bradley entering Cure immediately after the victims, according to the document. Hernandez downed two drinks, and left with Bradley 10 minutes later. Surveillance footage shows them leaving the garage in the 4Runner around 1:30 a.m., with Hernandez in the driver’s seat and Bradley in the front passenger’s seat.

What the two men did next is unclear. But by the time the victims left Cure an hour later, a car resembling the Toyota was back in the area. As the victims walked to the same garage, the 4Runner was captured on surveillance footage looping the block, circling the victims at a slow speed, in the lane closest to the sidewalk.

Boston police responded to a call of shots fired at 2:32 a.m. A witness who was in the car with the victims and injured in the shooting told authorities that the other vehicle contained a driver and a rear-seat passenger. Other bystanders who called police to inform them of the shooting Shawmut Avenue and Herald Street in Boston’s South End gave descriptions that roughly matched those of Hernandez, Bradley and the car they were driving, according to the warrant.

Evidence recovered at the scene led authorities to believe that the murder weapon was a .38- or .357-caliber handgun. Police in June seized a .38-caliber pistol as evidence in the case, after it was found in the trunk of a car driven by a Bristol woman following a crash in Springfield. Jai Lene Diaz-Ramos, who faces three illegal firearms charges, told police friends put the gun in her car.

The 4Runner towed in June had been parked in the garage of the Bristol home for about a year, and was covered in cobwebs, authorities said. It was a demo model from a rental company that was given to Hernandez in exchange for the star tight end’s doing promotions. Company representatives told authorities that they had contacted Hernandez’s agent about the car, but had not heard back from him, the warrant released Tuesday indicates. A cousin of Hernandez who lives at the house told authorities the vehicle was “Aaron’s” and nobody drove it.

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — Massachusetts State Police served Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey with a subpoena relating to an investigation into former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Sunday, shortly after the Patriots beat the visiting Dolphins in Foxborough, Sports Illustrated reported.

Hernandez was charged this year with first-degree murder in the June shooting death of his friend Odin Lloyd. A source with knowledge of the matter told SI.com that Pouncey’s subpoena has to do with Hernandez’s possible ties to gun trafficking.

The subpoena means a grand jury investigating Hernandez wants to talk to Pouncey, but doesn’t mean Pouncey is being charged with a crime or is implicated in wrongdoing.

Pouncey, 24, and Hernandez, 23, were teammates at the University of Florida.

After the Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-17 at Gillette Stadium, police officers in suits gave Pouncey a piece of paper in a hallway between a locker room and the Dolphins’ bus, SI.com reported.

“It’s about a grand jury investigation,” a police official told Pouncey, adding later, “Make sure you arrive,” according to SI.com.

CNN requested comment from the Dolphins, the NFL, the Massachusetts State Police and the district attorney’s office prosecuting the Hernandez case in Bristol County, Massachusetts. Representatives from each declined to comment Sunday night.

Hernandez was arrested in late June, 10 days after authorities say Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player, was killed in Massachusetts.

Authorities have said that Hernandez, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz picked Lloyd up from his Boston apartment in a rental car shortly before he was found shot to death on June 17 in a North Attleborough, Massachusetts, industrial park.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty in September to a charge of first-degree murder. Wallace and Ortiz have pleaded not guilty to charges of being an accessory to murder after the fact.

hc-aaron-hernandez-ortiz-20131018-001

(Mike Orazzi / The Bristol Press / Pool)

Carlos Ortiz, a suspect in the Aaron Hernandez murder case who has emerged as a key witness for the government, pleaded not guilty Friday and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

Ortiz, a Bristol man who has a lengthy criminal record in Connecticut, was indicted last month on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. He had been held without bail since he was arrested in late June for illegal firearms possession, a charge he no longer faces.

Before his June arrest, Ortiz, who was in the car with Hernandez and the victim the night of the June 17 shooting, gave investigators a detailed account of the events leading to and following Lloyd’s death. He since has changed that account, but still denies being an eyewitness to the shooting. Initially, Ortiz said that Ernest Wallace, the third suspect, and Hernandez both got out of the car with Lloyd minutes before his death, but recently revised his story to say that Hernandez was alone with the victim.

 

Read Jenny Wilson’s full story at Courant.com

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Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, right, with his mother, Terri, during Hernandez’s arraignment in the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. (POOL / Reuters Photo / September 6, 2013)

The fiancée and Bristol Central High School sweetheart of Aaron Hernandez was intentionally vague and untruthful when she testified before the grand jury investigating the former New England Patriot charged with murder, prosecutors said during Shayanna Jenkins’ first appearance as a defendant in Fall River Superior Court.

After attending several of her fiancée’s court hearings this summer, Jenkins on Tuesday was arraigned on a single count of perjury. She pleaded not guilty to her own charge and was released.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg said Jenkins during her testimony denied asking maids who cleaned the North Attleborough home she shared with Hernandez to sign non-disclosure agreements after Odin Lloyd’s June 17 death. The maids later testified before the grand jury that Jenkins did in fact ask them to sign documents, and copies of the non-disclose agreements were submitted as evidence, Bomberg said.

Prosecutors previously have disclosed that the maids testified about several guns they saw in the house, including the one investigators say was used to shoot and kill Lloyd. Authorities say that gun was later removed from the home, and have indicated they believe Jenkins helped dispose of it on June 18. Maids were at the home that day, court records show.

Read more of Jenny Wilson’s story from the Hartford Courant here.

FALL RIVER, Mass. – For the first time since his late June murder arrest, former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez Wednesday took the witness stand at a pretrial hearing during which the judge ruled on several motions but postponed issuing a decision on a request for her own removal.

Hernandez, his legs shackled but his wrists free after Fall River Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh allowed his handcuffs to be removed, raised his right hand and prepared to answer questions about a potential conflict involving his lawyer, Michael Fee, who works at the same law firm as a prosecutor’s wife.

“What is your employment?” Garsh asked Hernandez.

“Umm, I play football,” the former All-Pro tight end from Bristol responded. “NFL.”

Hernandez, dressed in khakis and a suit jacket and tie, answered quietly and told the judge he wished to remain with Fee, who has represented him since the onset of the criminal investigation. Fee said his firm, Ropes and Gray, had taken steps to ensure that Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg’s wife did not have access to case-related information.

Bomberg has been prosecuting the case along with Assistant District Attorney William McCauley, who opened the hearing with an announcement that the prosecution was moving to have the judge recused from the trial.

“In a prior murder case involving the same prosecutor, the judge exhibited antagonism and bias toward the prosecution throughout the case,” prosecutors said in a motion filed Wednesday morning. “The lead prosecutor and the trial judge currently assigned to this case have a well-known and publicly documented history of antagonism – a history that has, in the past, generated broad public comment and concern.”

McCauley, who has prosecuted the Hernandez case from the beginning, wrote in an affidavit supporting Garsh’s removal that the judge had engaged in biased conduct during the murder trial of George Duarte, a New Bedford man who in 2010 was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of a teenager. McCauley wrote that during that trial, “Her words, tone and behavior were unnecessary, discourteous and demeaning. Counsel for the defendant was not subjected to this same hostile treatment.”

Defense attorneys said they objected the motion and intended to file a written response. Prosecutors argued in a court memo that Garsh’s recusal was necessary in part due to the level of publicity the case inevitably would receive. An appearance of bias, they said, was just as damaging as actual bias. A hearing on the issue was scheduled for late October.

The public attention the Hernandez case has generated also was addressed later in the hearing, when Garsh refused defense attorneys’ request to extend a gag order that prevented all parties from discussing evidence in the case. She said that Massachusetts state law renders a court-issued order unnecessary, but warned that if the law was not followed, an order may become necessary. Defense attorneys frequently have criticized the widespread publicity their client has received due to his prior career as a professional football player.

A status hearing for Hernandez, who faces a murder and five illegal weapons charges in the June 17 death of Odin Lloyd, was scheduled for Dec 13. Lloyd, 28, of Dorchester, was dating the sister of Shayanna Jenkins, the former Patriot’s fiancée. Jenkins also was charged in the case, accused of lying in her testimony to the grand jury probing Lloyd’s death. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday to be arraigned on a single count of perjury.

The grand jury has also returned indictments for:

- Ernest Wallace, a Bristol drug dealer described as Hernandez’s “right hand man.” Wallace was indicted for accessory after the fact to murder.

- Carlos Ortiz, the prosecution’s key witness who, in a recently-revised account, has told authorities Hernandez was alone with the victim minutes before Lloyd’s death. Ortiz was also charged with accessory after the fact.

- Tanya Singleton, Hernandez’s cousin, who prosecutors say helped Wallace travel to Florida after Lloyd’s death, was charged with conspiracy to commit accessory.

By Jenny Wilson, Hartford Courant

HARTFORD — Alexander Bradley, an East Hartford man whom authorities have wanted to talk to in connection with the Aaron Hernandez investigation, will be extradited to Massachusetts as a material witness, a Superior Court judge ordered on Friday, despite objections from Bradley’s attorney.

Bradley, who was caught by Hartford Police and U.S. Marshals Friday morning, was also arraigned on charges of criminal violation of a protective order and interfering with police in Hartford.

Standing taller than almost everyone else in the courtroom, Bradley, wearing grey-colored jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt, stood silent for most of the appearance and spoke only to his attorneys.

From the Hartford Courant. Read more here.

Bradley Alexander, a man who was allegdly shot in the face by Aaron Hernandez, appears at Hartford Superior Court for a hearing on a

Alexander Bradley previously testified in June regarding the death of Odin Lloyd because authorities were interested in “similarities” between Lloyd’s death and an incident in Florida that left Bradley without vision in one eye. (Patrick Raycraft, Hartford Courant)

HARTFORD — Alexander Bradley, an East Hartford man whom authorities have wanted to talk to in connection with the Aaron Hernandez investigation, has been caught by Hartford Police and U.S. Marshals and is set to appear in Superior Court on Friday, authorities said.

A Massachusetts grand jury that is investigating the former New England Patriot’s possible role in a July 2012 double homicide in Boston subpoenaed Bradley in September.

Bradley was due to attend a hearing in early September to argue that he should not be required to comply with the subpoena. He did not attend, and authorities had not been able to find him since.

Hartford Superior Court Judge Joan K. Alexander ordered his arrest and set bail at $500,000 at the time.

Bradley has also filed a lawsuit that alleges Hernandez shot him in the eye last February.

Bradley previously testified before the Bristol County, Mass., grand jury investigating the June 17 death of Odin Lloyd because authorities were interested in “similarities” between Lloyd’s death and the incident in Florida that left Bradley without vision in one eye. Hernandez, who is from Bristol, has been accused of murder in Lloyd’s death.

A source said Suffolk County authorities are interested in hearing from Bradley because they believe he may have knowledge of the drive-by shooting that killed two men in Boston last summer. Hernandez has been a target of the probe since police in June found a car, rented in his name, that matched the description of the vehicle authorities sought in that case.

John Andrew Alcorn was also ordered to appear before the grand jury investigating the double homicide in Boston. While it is unclear what the grand jury will ask Alcorn, multiple law enforcement sources say investigators believe Alcorn may have information about a .38-caliber pistol seized after a June multi-vehicle crash in Springfield.

Alcorn is related to Thaddeus “T.L.” Singleton, who was of interest to Massachusetts authorities, but killed in a late-June car crash in Farmington before investigators reached him. Singleton was married to Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Cummings-Singleton, who was indicted for criminal contempt after she refused to testify before the grand jury investigating the Lloyd homicide.

Alcorn and Singleton previously shared multiple addresses, including the Singleton family home at 275 Sonstrom Road in Bristol.

Singleton more recently lived with Cummings-Singleton and other relatives of Hernandez at 114 Lake Ave., the Bristol home at which police found the gray/silver Toyota SUV that matched the description of the car sought in the Boston shooting.

A law enforcement source said the car, which Boston authorities seized in June, had been parked in the garage for about a year. Authorities also have surveillance footage that shows Hernandez was at the same nightclub as the victims hours before the shooting.

Prosecutors have not filed charges in the Boston double homicide, nor have Palm Beach County authorities investigating the Florida shooting that injured Bradley in February. Hernandez has been held without bail since his June 26 murder arrest, and is next scheduled to appear in Fall River Superior Court for an Oct. 9 hearing.

Staff Report, Hartford Courant

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