|Warrant Issued for Hernandez: Sources|
|By MICHELE McPHEE||Jun 21, 2013, 7:39 AM|
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now the subject of an arrest warrant drawn up on obstruction of justice charges based on the possible destruction of evidence in connection with the shooting death of his friend, ABC News has learned.
A spokesman for the Attleborough District Court, which covers Hernandez's town, today confirmed that a warrant has been drawn up but yet not issued by the court.
The growing investigation into Hernandez prompted CtyoSport, which makes the Muscle Milk line of supplements, to fire Hernandez as an endorser today.
"In light of the investigation involving Aaron Hernandez, CytoSport is terminating its endorsement contract with Mr. Hernandez, effective immediately," the company said in a statement.
Police sources told ABC News on Thursday that a major investigative tool – the security system at Hernandez's home, which included video – had been intentionally destroyed. His cell phone was handed over to police "in pieces," and appeared to have been smashed.
Police also want to know why a team of house cleaners were hired on Monday to scrub Hernandez's mansion, the sources said.
Evidence is mounting that Hernandez and the victim, Odin Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player, had been together at several nightclubs during the course of the weekend, including the night before Lloyd's body was found, several law enforcement sources told ABC News.
The star NFL player has not been ruled out as a suspect in Lloyd's murder, sources said, but the warrant that has been issued does not include a murder allegation.
Hernandez returned to his home this evening, sitting in the backseat of a car driven by his lawyer.
Hernandez's attorney, Michael Fee, has not commented on the investigation but released a statement Thursday saying: "It has been widely reported in the media that the state police have searched the home of our client, Aaron Hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation. Out of respect for that process, neither we nor Aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion."
Hernandez has been at the center of the investigation since Lloyd's body was found shot in the back of the head in a scrubby clearing of an industrial park roughly a mile from the Patriots star's $1.7 million mansion in North Attleborough, Mass., on Monday.
Lloyd was believed to have been killed sometime before dawn on Monday, although his body was not discovered until Monday evening by a teenage jogger.
Surveilance videos from nightclubs and in the area of Hernandez's home show Hernandez, Lloyd and two other men together in the hours before Lloyd was shot in the head.
Police are also investigating "other incidents of violence" that Hernandez is suspected of being involved in, two sources told ABC News.
Hernandez is being sued by a former friend who lost his eye after he claims the Patriots player shot him in the face in February. A lawsuit in that case stated that Hernandez "possessed a gun he was not legally licensed to have."
In the lawsuit initially filed in federal court on June 13, attorneys representing Alexander Bradley, 32, said that Hernandez and several others were at Tootsie's strip club in Miami on Feb. 13 when Bradley and Hernandez got into an argument. The group then left the club, and while driving towards Palm Beach, Hernandez's gun discharged inside the vehicle. "It fired, and a bullet went through my client's arm and blew out his right eye," attorney David Jaroslawicz told ABCNews.com. "It has been enucleated -- replaced with a prosthetic eye. He has also lost use of his right arm."
The victim, however, apparently did not tell Palm Beach County sheriffs who responded that the shooter was his friend Aaron Hernandez. The tight end's name is not mentioned on the police report.
Hernandez was also questioned about a shooting when he was a college student, but he was not charged in the case.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that an arrest warrant had been issued for Aaron Hernandez on obstruction of justice charges. The story has been updated to reflect that the warrant has been drawn up but not yet signed and issued by the Attleborough District Court.