Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has pleaded not guilty after being charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. The NFL star has been held in custody without bail as the legal process continues.
There have been a number of developments within the past week that are worth documenting as part of the case's proceedings.
Updates from Friday, April 11
NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that Hernandez's associates have been indicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd:
A grand jury has indicted Aaron Hernandez associates Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace on murder charges.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 11, 2014
Breer also supplied the full press release:
Here's the full press release on the Ortiz/Wallace indictments: Late this afternoon, a Bristol County Grand Jury returned separate indictments charging both Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, both of Bristol, Conn., with murder connected to the June, 2013 homicide of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro. Both men will be arraigned on the murder charge in the Fall River Justice Center on a date yet to be scheduled by the court. Once an arraignment date is scheduled, this office will send out a follow up media advisory. The district attorney's office will have no comment on the indictments prior to the defendants' arraignments in open court.
This news is significant because Hernandez can now be charged with murder even if it's not proven that he's the shooter.
Updates form Thursday, Mar. 6
Fox 25 in Boston provides an update on how authorities will proceed after Hernandez's alleged assault of another inmate:
Sheriff: Application for criminal complaint for assault filed in court against Aaron Hernandez for alleged jailhouse altercation. #fox25— FOX 25 News Boston (@fox25news) March 6, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Feb. 27
FOX 25's Ted Daniel reports a big development surrounding the 2012 shooting:
BREAKING: Lawyer for families says several witnesses can identify Aaron Hernandez as shooter in Boston 2012 drive by shooting #fox25— Ted Daniel (@TedDanielFOX25) February 27, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Feb. 26
The Bristol County sheriff commented on what led to Hernandez's scuffle with a fellow inmate, as well as the potential consequences, via Fox 25 in Boston:
Hodgson says there were no significant injuries and medical attention was not needed for either party. He added that standard procedure is that only one inmate should be out at a time, so they are looking into whether there was "systemic failure."
When asked whether or not Hernandez and the other inmate knew each other prior to their stay in the correctional facility, Hodgson said he had no knowledge of that and he was awaiting a report from his investigators.
"The sheriff wants to keep a safe environment and wants to project to the outside world that even inmates, even people who are accused or people in the House of Corrections who are convicted of crimes have rights to be safe and protected," Legal analyst Brad Bailey said. "And if he feels he needs to send that message out there and if he thinks the incident was serious enough, sure he'll refer it out for prosecution and it'll be up to the Bristol County DA's office and they'll take it forward."
My FOX Boston reports that Hernandez is now facing wrongful death civil lawsuits from the families of the victims of the 2012 shooting:
One day after getting in a jail house fight, Aaron Hernandez is facing two new wrongful death civil law suits.
The suits were filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court by family members of two men shot and killed in Boston back in July 2012. A Suffolk County grand jury has been investigating Hernandez for the double murder, but no criminal charges have been filed yet. That could happen at any time, but for some reason the victim's families did not want to wait.
One of the lawsuits was filed by the brother of Daniel DeAbreu. The other was filed by the father of Safiro T. Furtado. Both men were gunned down in Boston's South End during a drive-by shooting. Someone pulled up next to the BMW they were in and opened fire. The plaintiffs are each seeking $6 million from Hernandez.
Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 25
NBC 10 reports that Hernandez was involved in an altercation at the Bristol County House of Corrections on Tuesday:
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson tells NBC 10 that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was involved in a prison altercation on Tuesday.
Hodgson said he couldn't go into much detail at this time but Hernandez and the other inmate are now part of an internal investigation at the Bristol County House of Corrections by his officers.
Accordingto Hodgson Hernandez remains in a segregated housing unit away from the general population.
The Sheriff would not comment of injuries but according to TMZ, the victim is in "rough shape" after he had been "beefing" with Hernandez all day.
A report by Fox 25 Boston's Ted Daniel from on Feb. 11 noted that Hernandez's longtime Rhode Island barber, Robby Olivares, could become a key witness in the murder case.
Daniel provides an explanation of the sequence of events involving Hernandez and Lloyd leading up to the latter's death, along with the witnessing role Olivares may have played at the Rumor night club in Boston:
On Friday, June 14, two nights before Lloyd was executed, Lloyd and Hernandez partied at Rumor night club in Boston's Theater District. Authorities believe Lloyd revealed something at the club that caused Hernandez to no longer trust him, something so explosive that Lloyd had to die.
A security manager at Rumor claims he overheard it, and we now know Robby Olivares may have, too.
If Olivares was at the club that night, he may be one of the only credible witnesses from Hernandez's inner circle with an eye witness account of the suspected triggering event that led to Lloyd being shot five times some 48 hours later.
This is a substantial movement toward perhaps gaining a better understanding of the circumstances, and what precisely may have led to Hernandez and Lloyd's relationship going on the rocks. Whatever happened at that night club is a significant part of what will determine this case's outcome.
"An important part of this case has to do with events that occurred at the Rumors night club," said Jamie Sultan, one of Hernandez's lawyers, per Daniel.
Whether or not Olivares has anything to offer as a witness is pure conjecture and speculation at this point, but it could prove to be a turning point in the investigation. Then again, the defense may have an easy argument to dismiss his testimony, as Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann implied in his take on the situation:
Now that Aaron Hernandez's barber may be key witness, defense will give reasons to doubt him (he's a hanger-on etc). http://t.co/BpW5q4JmdW— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) February 13, 2014
On Feb. 14, John R. Ellement of The Boston Globe reported on the gag order issued to both the prosecution and the defense by Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh. Ellement logged a key excerpt from the 25-page written decision:
None of the lawyers appearing in this case or any person with supervisory authority over them shall release or authorize the release of information about this proceeding that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by any means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing potential trial jurors or witnesses or will have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.
It's a complicated court order by the judge, but it essentially states that neither side is permitted to release any documentation regarding the case that could sway public opinion either way. The primary objective is to have as impartial of a jury as possible.
That certainly makes sense given the heightened media attention and the popularity of the NFL, which is where Hernandez made his living as a Pro Bowler. However, it also means that there likely won't be as many updates to report on until the case develops further.
Such a gag order also gives some advantage to the defense if both sides hold up their end of the agreement, because Hernandez has already been rather demonized in the court of public opinion.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk weighed in on the matter, citing the prosecution's history with the judge:
Given that the prosecution at one point tried to have Judge Garsh removed from the Hernandez litigation due to alleged bias against prosecutors in a past case, the prosecution likely will try to avoid any situation in which she would have the ability to conclude that this complex standard was violated.
Hernandez, 24, was indicted by a grand jury in August 2013, but his ties to the Patriots organization and the league have been severed. It seems as though the murder case will be shrouded in more mystery moving forward, which won't help with regard to clarification as to what happened.