(BOSTON) — Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday for the murder of his friend, who was shot less than a mile from the NFL’s star’s North Attleborough, Mass., home.
Hernandez was charged 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. while 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.
Prosecutors pushed to get an indictment before Thursday’s hearing, sources told ABC News. That is significant because without an indictment Hernandez’s lawyers would have likely argued for his release.
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 comes after prosecutors requested, and received, a 30-day extension to outline their case to Hernandez’s defense attorneys.
Thursday’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.
The Lloyd investigation has also led to murder charges against two men prosecutors said Hernandez, 23, 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.
Two women with ties to Hernandez have been charged in connection with the ongoing investigation.
Tanya Singleton, Hernandez’s cousin, has been locked up held at Suffolk County jail since August 1 because of her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury probing proceedings centered on the July 15, 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End that left two men dead and a third wounded, police and prison officials confirmed.
Hernandez is being probed for any link to that shooting after police recovered a rental car believed to be used in the crime secreted in his uncle’s Bristol, Conn., garage. Witnesses told police Hernandez was seen arguing with the victims at the Cure nightclub hours before the gunshots rang out.
A second woman has also been charged in connection with the investigation into the Boston shooting after a weapon was found in her vehicle, searched following a minor crash.
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