|Hernandez 'Flop House' Had Clothes Possibly Linked to Murder|
|By MICHELE MCPHEE and AARON KATERSKY (@aaronkatersky)||Jul 3, 2013, 5:15 PM|
A condominium rented by former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez contained incriminating items that police believe link him to the murder of Odin Lloyd, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
The documents show police discovered a white hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap that police source say match what Hernandez was seen on surveillance video wearing the night he allegedly orchestrated the murder of Lloyd with two other men.
Police also found three different calibers of ammunition, including .45 caliber ammunition, the same kind used to kill Lloyd, a semi-pro football player discovered dead June 17 in a North Attleborough, Mass., industrial park near where Hernandez lived with his fiancé and baby.
Carlos Ortiz, 27, who was arrested in Bristol, Conn., and identified by Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter as one of three men allegedly involved in Lloyd's death, was cooperative with investigators during an interview on June 25, according to search warrant affidavits filed in the case.
"Ortiz did confirm that he was with Aaron Hernandez on the night in question. Ortiz then went on to explain that Hernandez has another address that not many people know about,'' Massachusetts State Trooper Michael Bates wrote in the affidavit. Ortiz called it a $1,200-a-month "flop house for Hernandez,'' the affidavit states.
The lease for the 599 Old West Central Street in Franklin, Mass., was in Hernandez's name, according to court documents filed in the case. Investigators said that among the items they hoped to recover in a search was anything to indicate drug dealing on the premises, the document stated. Police mentioned cocaine in the affidavit requesting an All Persons Warrant – which would entitle police to search anyone found in the apartment – writing that "the nature of the sale of cocaine is such that the participants are constantly changing."
Investigators hoped to find ammunition, and the clothing Hernandez was wearing the night of Lloyd's murder in the surveillance video recovered by investigators, the warrant stated. The security system in Hernandez' $1.3 million North Attleborough mansion had been smashed and "intentionally damaged," prosecutors said at his arraignment last week, but images were still recovered by investigators that showed him in his home with a gun.
A white sweatshirt "consistent" with the one Hernandez was spotted wearing was recovered "in the main bedroom of the apartment" during the initial search, according to the affidavit. Other clothes recovered there had "the number 81" emblazoned on them, which, the affidavit notes, "is consistent with the number Hernandez wears on his Patriots uniform."
Police also recovered three types of ammunition in the Franklin apartment, according to the search warrant affidavits. There were also valet parking tickets from the W Hotel, which is located close to Rumor nightclub where Hernandez and Lloyd partied together Friday night into Saturday morning. The valet tickets were dated for Friday.
Hernandez is being held without bail at the Bristol County jail charged with first degree murder in connection with Lloyd's homicide. A third suspect, Ernest Wallace, 41, turned himself in to police in Miramar, Fla., and is expected to be arraigned in Massachusetts in the coming days.
Lloyd's body was found less than a mile from the home Hernandez shares with his fiance Shayanna Jenkins and infant daughter. Lloyd, 27, befriended Hernandez, 23, when he began dating Jenkins' sister, prosecutors said at his arraignment last week.
The victim had keys in his pocket to a car that had been rented by Hernandez, one of several in a fleet of rentals the former NFL star had in his name. Lloyd had also texted his sister in the minutes before he died: "Did you see who I was with?" He followed that text up with "NFL."
The case against Hernandez remains "very active and ongoing," Sutter told ABC News. Massachusetts investigators have traveled to Florida looking into "other incidents of violence" that Hernandez was alleged to have been involved in while attending the University of Florida where he played football for the Gators.
One of those incidents being investigated was the September 2007 shooting of two men. According to a police report witnesses saw a "suspect wearing a green shirt step to the curb" at 1200 W. University Ave. where a white Crown Victoria was parked.
"The suspect then pulled out a handgun and fired 4-5 shots,'' the police report states.
The driver, Justin Glass, was shot in the arm. Witnesses told police he jumped out of the car and "racked the action" of a handgun after the shooting.
The front seat passenger, Corey Smith, was hit in the back of the head but survived. A third passenger in the back seat, Randall Cason, was not hit and told police that the victims had been involved in an altercation at a Florida nightclub, Venue.
"This is my fault!" Cason was yelling near the crime scene, according to the police report. He then talked about the shooting being "retaliation" for the nightclub fight, according to police. Cason was distraught, according to the police report, and "stated several times it should have been him that had been shot and not Cory."
That morning, Cason described his assailant as a "Hawaiian male wearing a green shirt and was possibly a UF student and football player." Cason explained to police that he had been fighting with "some UF football players." One of those players, he claimed, tried to snatch his gold chain at Venue. At that point, the football players were thrown out, the report states.
Police were sent to the "springs complex" at UF where "UF football players live,'' according to the report. It also appeared that police attempted to question Aaron Hernandez – whose name is redacted – but he asked for a lawyer. A woman named Jenkins was also a witness to the shooting, but it was unclear if it was Hernandez' longtime girlfriend.
Fingerprints were lifted from a SUV believed to have been used in the shooting, and that evidence remain part of the case file. Shell casings from a .380 handgun that the shooter fired were also recovered.A composite sketch of the suspect was also created. But no one was ever charged and the case remains unsolved.
Massachusetts investigators are also interested in a barroom assault in 2007 where Hernandez was accused of punching a restaurant manager in the head, rupturing his right eardrum, in a dispute over a bill for two drinks. After he delivered the punch, according to a Gainesville Police report, Hernandez fled.
Gators teammate Tim Tebow tried to break up the fight, according to the report, and encouraged Hernandez to leave peacefully and settle the tab. Police swore out a complaint on felony assault charges but it remains unclear how the case was adjudicated. Hernandez is due back in court July 24.