Aaron Hernandez Charged With First-Degree Murder in Killing of Friend

PHOTO: Aaron Hernandez enters courtroomPlayYoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
WATCH Aaron Hernandez Charged With First-Degree Murder

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was indicted today for the murder of his friend, who was shot less than a mile from the NFL star's North Attleborough, Mass., home.

Hernandez, 23, was charged by Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter with first-degree murder and weapons violations in connection with the killing of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, who was allegedly shot five times, execution-style on June 17.

Hernandez appeared in court at 2 p.m., as his lawyers presented motions to the judge. He did not speak, but he mouthed the words "I love you" to his mother, who was also in court.

The family of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, appeared in court wearing buttons emblazoned with his picture. Hernandez, who was friends with the victim, reportedly took issue with Lloyd talking to "people he had a problem with" at a Boston nightspot called Rumor shortly before the killing, according to prosecutors and court documents.


Hernandez was arrested on June 26 and has been held without bail in a solitary cell at the Bristol County House of Correction. The indictment came after prosecutors requested, and received, a 30-day extension to outline their case to Hernandez's defense attorneys.

Today's indictment is the latest development in the ongoing investigation into Hernandez and other incidents the football standout is suspected of involvement in. Soon after the Lloyd killing, ABC News learned Boston detectives were investigating whether Hernandez had a role in an unsolved drive-by shooting that left two men dead more than a year ago. That investigation is ongoing, prosecutors said.

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The Lloyd investigation also has led to charges against two men prosecutors said Hernandez was with the night Lloyd was killed: Carlos Ortiz, 27, and Ernest Wallace, 41. Ortiz has been cooperating with investigators, according to court documents, and has fingered Hernandez as the alleged trigger man.

Wallace was also indicted today on charges he tried to cover up the crime and protect Hernandez. He is expected to be arraigned at Fall River Superior Court on Monday.

Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned at superior court next week.

A woman has been charged in connection with another crime being investigated to determine whether Hernandez was involved.

Tanya Singleton, Hernandez's cousin, has been locked up held at Suffolk County Jail since Aug. 1 because of her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury probing a July 15, 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston's South End that left two men dead and a third wounded, police and prison officials said. She was indicted on contempt charges today, according to court documents obtained by ABC News, and is expected to be arraigned in the coming days.

Hernandez is being probed for any link to that shooting.

Singleton's husband was also being sought for questioning but was killed in a car crash before detectives could speak with him, prosecutors said.

Hernandez's attorneys told reporters today they remained confident the football star would be acquitted but they also suggested he would be unable to receive a fair trial because of the intense publicity that has been generated by the case.

Lawyers also have accused prosecutors of misconduct during the course of their investigation -- a charge the DA scoffed at.

"This entire investigation is above board," Sutter told ABC News.