Report: Hernandez being investigated in 2012 double murder
FALL RIVER, Mass. —
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is facing charges in the killing of a semi-pro football player in North Attleborough, is also being questioned in connection with an unsolved double murder in Boston, law enforcement officials told The Boston Globe on Thursday.
According to the newspaper, investigators believe a fight broke out at a club between two men and a group that included Hernandez.
The newspaper reported that the two men, Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, both of Dorchester, left the club with three other men in a BMW sedan in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012.
According to the newspaper, Abreu, who was driving, stopped at a traffic light when a silver or gray SUV with Rhode Island license plates pulled alongside the sedan. Someone from the SUV opened fire, killing Abreu and Furtado.
The newspaper reported that the men who were with them survived the attack and the killings were left unsolved.
Law enforcement officials told the newspaper that investigators now believe Odin Lloyd, the man Hernandez is charged with killing, may have had information about Hernandez's role in the double killing.
On Thursday, a Fall River Superior Court judge denied Hernandez's request for bail, one day after he was charged with the murder of Lloyd.
Hernandez appeared in court with his attorneys James Sultan and Michael Fee.
Sultan argued that Hernandez was a model citizen without a record, was not a flight risk and the case against him is circumstantial.
But a prosecutor said the evidence is "overwhelming." A search of a Hummer belonging to Hernandez turned up an ammunition clip matching the caliber of casings found at the scene of the killing of Odin Lloyd, the prosecutor said.
Judge Renee Dupuis called the prosecution's case "circumstantial but very, very strong."
"Given all the circumstances in this case, despite the fact that he has a fiance and a baby and is homeowner, he also has the means to flee and a (GPS) bracelet just wouldn't keep him here, nor would $250,000. I'm going to deny the defendant's petition," Dupuis said.
Hernandez's girlfriend cried when the judge gave her decision.
A large crowd that had gathered on the street chanted "innocent, innocent" and cheered as Hernandez left the courthouse.
Lloyd's body was discovered by a jogger in a remote area of an industrial park not far from Hernandez's home on June 17.
Prosecutors called Lloyd's killing an execution-style shooting orchestrated by Hernandez. The former Patriot and could face life in prison if convicted.
Hernandez was arrested Wednesday morning, and led from his North Attleborough home in handcuffs.
A 2011 Pro Bowl selection, Hernandez had signed a five-year contract last summer with the Patriots worth $40 million.
Also on Thursday, PUMA announced it was ending its relationship with Hernandez "in light of the current situation." Hernandez signed a two-year endorsement deal in April 2013 as the face of its "training category."
CytoSport, the parent company of Muscle Milk, has also ended its endorsement contract.
Investigation continues in Conn., Mass.
Another man, Carlos Ortiz, 27, was arrested Wednesday in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., as part of the murder investigation, New Britain State's Attorney Brian Preleski said Thursday. Ortiz was charged as a fugitive from justice and waived extradition to Massachusetts. According to prison records, Ortiz is being held on $1.5 million bail at a Hartford jail.
Ortiz's public defender, Alfonzo Sirica, declined to comment about the case.
In the meantime, police have been searching a third-floor unit in a condo complex in Franklin, Mass., that Hernandez had visited in recent weeks, according to the unit's next-door neighbor.
Condo resident Carol Bailey said that starting Wednesday and continuing Thursday, police removed items from the modest, two-bedroom rental unit and asked her questions about its occupants. She said a new tenant told her in May that he was moving in with his cousin, and she realized later that the second man he had referred to that was the Patriots player.
"I thought, 'This is Aaron Hernandez. He's renting a place here so he can have some peace and quiet," the retiree said Thursday.
The Ledgewood Condominiums resident said she didn't see the two men often, but Hernandez always had a hoodie pulled up when she saw him.
"I think all of us who recognized who it was didn't want to invade his privacy," she said of neighbors.
Events leading up to Lloyd's killing
Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player with the Boston Bandits, had known Hernandez for about a year and was dating the sister of Hernandez's finance, the mother of Hernandez's 8-month-old baby, Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley said.
On June 14, Lloyd went with Hernandez to the Boston nightclub Rumor. McCauley said Hernandez was upset Lloyd had talked to people there with whom Hernandez had trouble. He did not elaborate.
Two days later, McCauley said, Hernandez texted two unidentified friends and asked them to hurry to Massachusetts from Connecticut. At 9:05 p.m., a few minutes after the first message to his friends, Hernandez texted Lloyd to tell him he wanted to get together, McCauley said.
Later, surveillance footage from Hernandez's home showed his friends arrive and go inside. Hernandez, holding a gun, then told someone in the house he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.
At 1:12 a.m. June 17, the three left in Hernandez's rented silver Nissan Altima, McCauley said. Cell towers tracked their movements to a gas station off the highway. There, he said, Hernandez bought blue Bubblicious gum.
At 2:32 a.m., they arrived outside Lloyd's home in Boston and texted him that they were there. McCauley said Lloyd's sister saw him get into Hernandez's car.
From there, surveillance cameras captured images of what the prosecutor said was Hernandez driving the silver Altima through Boston. As they drove back toward North Attleborough, Hernandez told Lloyd he was upset about what happened at the club and didn't trust him, McCauley said. That was when Lloyd began sending texts to his sister.
Surveillance video showed the car entering the industrial park and at 3:23 a.m. driving down a gravel road near where Lloyd's body was found. Four minutes later, McCauley said, the car emerged. During that period, employees working an overnight shift nearby heard several gunshots, McCauley said.
McCauley said Lloyd was shot multiple times, including twice from above as he was lying on the ground. He said five .45-caliber casings were found at the scene.
Authorities did not say who fired the shots or identify the two others with Hernandez.
At 3:29 a.m., surveillance at Hernandez's house showed him arriving and walking through the house with a gun in his hand, McCauley said.
His friend is also seen holding a gun, and neither weapon has been found, McCauley said.
Then, the surveillance system stopped recording, and footage was missing from the six to eight hours after the killing, he said.
The afternoon of June 17, the prosecutor said, Hernandez returned the rental car, offering the attendant a piece of blue Bubblicious gum when he dropped it off. While cleaning the car, the attendant found a piece of blue Bubblicious gum and a shell casing, which he threw away. Police later searched the trash bin and found the gum and the casing. The prosecutor said it was tested and matched the casings found where Lloyd was killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.