|Aaron Hernandez Liked Guns, Drugs, Sources Say|
|By MICHELE McPHEE and AARON KATERSKY (@aaronkatersky)||Sep 6, 2013, 9:20 AM|
When the murder of trial of Aaron Hernandez begins there are likely to be two men portrayed in the courtroom.
One: the rising star tight end in the vaunted Patriots organization who caught passes from one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
The other: a gun-obsessed gang affiliated drug user who was hopped up on PCP even after he signed a contract worth $40 million and signed lucrative endorsement deals.
Sources close to the case told ABC News Hernandez's alleged drug use will play a key role as prosecutors build a timeline to explain how a professional football standout could be capable of cold-blooded murder. Investigative sources told ABC News that Hernandez was a heavy-user of PCP, marijuana and alcohol.
According to the sources, test results show Hernandez was high on marijuana and alcohol the night his friend, semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, 27, was shot and killed on June 17 at a desolate industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's million-dollar mansion in North Attleborough, Mass.
"His drug use will definitely factor into the case,'' a source close to the investigation told ABC News.
In a loud, strong voice, Hernandez, 23, said "not guilty" six times as charges contained in a first degree murder indictment were read at his arraignment today.
As he spoke, the Lloyd family sat in court wearing the purple colors associated with his team, the Boston Bandits. The visibly shaken family also had buttons emblazoned with his face.
On the other side of the room was Hernandez's fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins, who is the mother of his infant daughter. Jenkins' presence was notable because she remains a person of interest in the case, the sources told ABC News.
"She may have information about the murder weapon that hasn't been found,'' the source said.
Hernandez mouthed "I love you" to the bench where Jenkins and other family members sat as he was led from the courthouse.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed that Hernandez will continue to be held at a Bristol County lockup until a separate bail hearing will be held on Oct. 9. Hernandez has been in a segregation unit at the jail since his arrest in June and is spending time reading "Tuesdays with Morrie" and the Bible, prison officials told ABC News.
"Tuesdays With Morrie," an inspirational book by former sportswrtiter Mitch Albom, is about his meeting with former professor Morrie Schwartz and their talks about life.
Hernandez was formally indicted earlier this month and his case has now moved to superior where his trial on murder charges will be held.
Defense attorneys have insisted that the former NFL star – who was cut from the Patriots within hours of his arrest in June – will be cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting of Lloyd.
Investigators say its case against Hernandez and two other men who have been criminally charges as his accomplices, Ernest Wallace, 41, and Carlos Ortiz, 27, is ironclad.
Wallace was indicted this month on a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. He earlier pleaded not guilty to the same charge in district court and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.Carlos Ortiz pleaded not guilty to a firearms charge and is being held without bail. He has not been indicted and court records reveal he is cooperating with investigators.
The murder indictment against Hernandez and search warrant affidavits filed by investigators reveal a timeline of all three men's actions in the hours before Lloyd was murdered.
Prosecutors say the three men picked up Lloyd at his Boston home and brought him to a desolate industrial park where he was shot with a .45 caliber handgun. That weapon has not been recovered but police have found other weapons Hernandez was not authorized to own. Investigators have also discovered a flophouse rented in Hernandez's name where a sweatshirt police said Hernandez was wearing when Lloyd was shot was recovered.
According to court records, Ortiz has fingered Hernandez as the gunman, telling detectives Wallace told him that Hernandez was the triggerman.
The investigation has also led to charges against Tanya Singleton, Hernandez's cousin, because of her refusal to cooperate with a grand jury hearing evidence in connection with an unsolved triple shooting that left two men dead and another wounded last summer. Hernandez has been called a suspect in that shooting.