ATTLEBORO (AP) — Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder and weapons charges in the death of a friend whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile from the ex-player’s home.
The six-count grand jury indictment charges Hernandez with killing 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.
Hernandez, 23, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in June, and he is being held without bail at a county jail.
He had a brief court appearance in Attleboro on Thursday afternoon. Afterward, his attorney Michael Fee said the defense was pleased to be on a path to a jury trial and was looking forward to testing the prosecution’s evidence.
“There has been an incredible rush to judgment in this case,” and the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove the charges, he said.
Hernandez signed a contract last summer worth $40 million but was cut by the Patriots within hours of his June 26 arrest, when police led the handcuffed athlete from his home as news cameras rolled.
He could face life in prison if convicted.
The Bristol County grand jury also indicted two others in the case.
Hernandez associate Ernest Wallace is charged with accessory to murder after the fact.
Hernandez’s cousin Tanya Singleton is charged with criminal contempt for failing to comply with a judge’s order requiring her to provide truthful testimony to the grand jury.
Singleton has been jailed in Massachusetts since Aug. 1, but authorities haven’t said why. A recent affidavit says after Lloyd’s killing Singleton bought a bus ticket for Wallace, who’s believed to have been with Hernandez the night Lloyd died.
A jogger found Lloyd’s body on June 17 in a North Attleborough industrial park. His mother, Ursula Ward, called him a loving son who never hurt anyone and implored law enforcement officials to get justice for his slaying.