NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A police cruiser carrying former New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez left the North Attleboro Police Department and headed toward Attleboro District Court Wednesday afternoon.
Hernandez, 23, is expected to be charged in connection with the death of a 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, of Dorchester, at a 2 p.m. arraignment. He was taken from his home in handcuffs by Mass. State Police and North Attleboro Police at about 8:47 a.m. Wednesday.
The Patriots announced that they had released Hernandez from the team about an hour after his arrest.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
On Friday, a source told FOX 25's Bob Ward that a paper warrant had been issued for Hernandez on an obstruction of justice charge in connection with Lloyd's death.
FOX 25 legal experts say that if Hernandez is charged with obstruction of justice he will most likely make bail and be released Wednesday. FOX 25 had heard that a cell was being prepared at the Bristol County House of Correction for Hernandez.
Last week, Lloyd's death was ruled a homicide after his body was found in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home. Since last Monday, police have searched both Hernandez's home and the industrial park a number of times.
On Tuesday, a law enforcement source told FOX 25 that investigators believe Lloyd was shot multiple times in the early-morning hours of June 17 in the area where his body was found.
A source told Ward that surveillance video showed Hernandez walking into his home with two others around 3:30 a.m. on June 17. Neighbors told police they heard what sounded like gunshots shortly before they arrived to the home. The shots were not immediately reported and FOX 25 has been unable to find any neighbor who will admit to hearing them.
Lloyd's family has said Lloyd and Hernandez were friends. They said Lloyd dated the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ropes & Gray had confirmed that well-known criminal attorney Jamie Sultan, of Rankin & Sultan, is acting as Hernandez's co-counsel.
Sultan visited Hernandez's home Tuesday afternoon. Attorney Michael K. Fee, of Ropes & Gray LLP, has represented Hernandez since investigators began probing the death of Lloyd.
Sultan's biography says he "has more than 30 years of experience fighting for clients facing serious criminal charges in both state and federal courts."
Sultan is most widely known for representing Violet, Cheryl, and Gerald Amirault. Violet and her daughter, Cheryl, were charged alongside her son, Gerald, for allegations that he abused children at a day care center where they all worked in 1984. Violet and Cheryl were released after serving eight years in prison. Gerald was released on parole in 2004.
Lloyd was a player for the Boston Bandits semi-professional football team.
Hernandez is expected to appear in Attleboro District Court Wednesday. Following his arraignment, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter will meet with the press and issue a statement.
Hernandez, who played three seasons in New England, was an All-American at Florida. But heading into the NFL draft at least one team said it took him off its draft board — refusing to select him under any circumstances — and all of the other teams in the league bypassed him repeatedly as he fell to New England in the fourth round.
In 38 games over his three NFL seasons, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. Last summer, he was given a five-year contract worth $41 million just months after the team locked up Rob Gronkowski through 2019.
FOX 25's Brett Connolly reported that all Hernandez gear had been taken off the shelves and boxed up at Gillette Stadium.
The NFL said, "The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling."
Both the Patriots and NFL extended their sympathies to Lloyd's family.