Patriots player Hernandez charged with murder

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by MICHELLE R. SMITH

Associated Press

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 5:21 PM

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Police have charged Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with murder and weapons counts in connection with the slaying of a semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home.

The charge was revealed Wednesday in Attleboro District Court after Hernandez was arrested at his sprawling North Attleborough home. Less than two hours after his arrest, the Patriots cut Hernandez from the team.

The investigation started more than a week ago after semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd was found slain in an industrial park in North Attleborough, on the Rhode Island line not far from where the Patriots play.

Lloyd's family says he and Hernandez were friends and that Lloyd's girlfriend and Hernandez's fiancee are sisters.

Patriot tight end released following homicide investigation. 

The New England Patriots say they've released tight end Aaron Hernandez "following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide" last week in nearby North Attleboro.

The Patriots issued a statement Wednesday saying: "We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."

The move came a few hours after Hernandez was taken from his home in handcuffs. He was taken into custody more than a week after a Boston semi-pro football player was found dead in an industrial park a mile from Hernandez's house.

Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found slain June 17. Officials ruled the death a homicide but did not say how Lloyd died.

Lloyd's relatives said he was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, that the two men were friends and that both men were out together on the last night of Lloyd's life.

It's unclear why Hernandez was being taken into custody Wednesday before 9 a.m. and put into the back of a police cruiser. He was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back as he was led from his North Attleborough home. He casually spit into some bushes on his way to the car.

Hernandez was arrested on a state police warrant and was being booked at the North Attleborough police station, state police said on the agency's Twitter account. State police said they won't discuss the charge against Hernandez until it's presented in Attleboro District Court later Wednesday.

The Associated Press emailed a message to his attorney, Michael Fee, who hasn't discussed the investigation beyond acknowledging media reports about it. A message also was left with the Bristol County district attorney's office.

Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, declined to comment at her Boston home Wednesday morning.

"Nothing to say, please. Thank you," she said, before shutting the door.

State police have searched in and around Hernandez's home in North Attleborough several times. At least three search warrants have been issued in connection with the investigation.

A Patriots team spokesman said Monday morning that the team had no comment.

Reporters have been camped out for days at Hernandez's sprawling home on the Rhode Island line, not far from the stadium where the Patriots play. They reported Tuesday that Hernandez got a visit from Boston defense attorney James Sultan.

The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., out of the University of Florida in 2010. Last summer, the team gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James has said the team did not anticipate commenting publicly during the police investigation.

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Associated Press writers Bridget Murphy in Boston and Howard Ulman contributed to this story.

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