If Aaron Hernandez planned to get away scot-free with any involvement he might have had in the death of his friend Odin Lloyd, he forgot to do several important things.
Namely, clean up the evidence. Not be seen with Lloyd in places where other people and cameras might be present. Or draw increasing attention to himself by doing things like giving the police his cell phone in a destroyed state or smashing his home security surveillance system.
To make matters worse, Hernandez may now be linked to another shooting, which appears to be just another issue in a growing list of incidents, a double homicide committed in Boston last year. If this is true, then Hernandez not only is in deeper trouble than any of us could have imagined just two weeks ago, but he has a clear and alarming pattern of murderous behavior.
Make no mistake. Aaron Hernandez is entitled to have his day in court. If there is any explanation of what happened that could clear his name or show an indication that someone else pulled the trigger, that someone else orchestrated the killing, Hernandez will have is opportunity to explain himself and to have his lawyers make a case for his innocence.
The case against Hernandez, however, is very troubling. One of the strongest indicators that Hernandez was the killer is a combination of the video footage showing Hernandez and Lloyd together in the hours leading up to Lloyd’s death and these just-revealed text messages between Lloyd and his sister that may have been sent in the minutes before he was killed. (Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/odin-lloyd-sent-his-sister-an-ominous-text-message-2013-6) The exchange was as follows:
Odin Lloyd (3:07 a.m.): "Did you see who I am with?"
Odin Lloyd (3:11 a.m.): "Hello?"
Sister (3:19 a.m.): "My was phone dead. Who?"
Odin Lloyd (3:22 a.m.): "NFL."
Odin Lloyd (3:23 a.m.): "Just so you know."
Further, Lloyd’s sister reported seeing him leave with Hernandez around 2:30 a.m. Prosecutors put Lloyd’s time of death as being between 3:23 and 3:27 a.m. which is when nearby plant workers reported hearing shots fired. Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park early the next evening. If the timeline indicating that shots were fired was accurate, Lloyd himself reports being with Hernandez less than five minutes before he died.
According to businessinsider.com, Lloyd was speaking to people at a club the Friday night before that Hernandez did not like. No reason as to why Hernandez disliked these people was given, but the prosecution alleges that this conversation was Hernandez’s motive for murder. On the Sunday following this incident, Hernandez texted to ask two other friends to “please come back.” He then proceeded to invite Lloyd to his home while texting his other two friends to also come over. Hernandez was reportedly seen later on that evening on a surveillance tape waving a gun and saying he “can’t trust anyone anymore.” By shortly after 2:30 a.m., Hernandez and his friends showed up at Lloyd’s house in a rented Nissan Altima, which is when Lloyd’s sister confirmed last seeing her brother alive. Lloyd’s sister then saw him leave with Hernandez in the Altima.
Less than an hour later, Odin Lloyd was dead.
Consistent with the text messages and the gunshots, a surveillance camera at the industrial park shows the Altima arrive at the park around 3:23 a.m. and leave around 3:29 a.m. In that six minute span, Aaron Hernandez and his accomplices arrived, Odin Lloyd sent his last text message and nearby workers heard the gunshots that ended Lloyd’s life.
According to the businessinsider.com article, our own Patriots writers and police investigative files, when Hernandez left the rental car behind the next day and exchanged it for a different one, there was a shell casing inside of the car that matched the casings on the murder scene. A chewed piece of gum, believed to be Hernandez’s, was also left on the interior of the car.
In light of all of these facts, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the arrest of Aaron Hernandez. If the gum is proven through forensic analysis to have actually been chewed by Aaron Hernandez, it will add one more bit of evidence to the mountain that is already piling.
Between the surveillance footage from the industrial park, the shell casing in the rental car, the turning off and eventual destruction of the home security system at Hernandez’s home, the eyewitness account of Odin Lloyd’s sister, Odin Lloyd’s final text messages, the destroyed cell phone that Hernandez handed over to police and the thorough cleaning of Hernandez’s home the day after the murder, a defense of Aaron Hernandez may prove to be very complicated. The State of Massachusetts does not have the Death Penalty so the worst-case scenario for Hernandez would be a sentence tantamount to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Still, police agencies and the district attorney’s office will take their time building the case against Hernandez and seeking answers, and due process of law and the rules of the court will entitle Hernandez to a defense. Given his fame and notoriety, Aaron Hernandez will very likely put up a vigorous defense with some very high-priced attorneys. If Hernandez opts to fight the charges against him, it is likely that a long drawn-out preliminary process followed by a high-profile criminal trial will follow. Teams and players around the league are now on notice that no one is above the law, and teams are now far more likely to dig deeper when evaluating potential draft picks to avoid a scenario such as what Aaron Hernandez and the New England Patriots are going through right now.