Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was formally indicted today in Massachusetts on charges including first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, ESPN reports.
Hernandez also faces weapons charges in connection with the death of Lloyd, "a friend whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile from the ex-player’s home," the story reports.
ESPN adds: "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, appeared briefly in court today. He "pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in June, and he is being held without bail at a county jail," the story notes.
After the court appearance by Hernandez, "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," the report adds.
Said Fee: "There has been an incredible rush to judgment in this case." The attorney added that the prosecution is lacking sufficient evidence to prove its case.
"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," ESPN reports. "He could face life in prison if convicted."
Lloyd’s body was reportedly found by a jogger June 17 in an industrial park in North Attleborough.
"Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd’s killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with at a nightclub days earlier. They say Hernandez, [Ernest] Wallace and another associate, Carlos Ortiz, picked Lloyd up at his home in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood early on June 17 and then drove to the industrial park," ESPN reports.
The report adds: "Shortly before his death, authorities say, Lloyd sent his sister text messages. He asked if she had seen who he was with when he got into the car in Boston. Then he indicated who it was in a way that Lloyd’s family said he knew his sister would understand. ‘NFL,’ he wrote. ‘Just so you know.’
"Moments later, authorities say, Lloyd was dead after gunshots rang out in an unpaved construction area by a warehouse after he apparently got out of the car for what he thought was a bathroom break."