BOSTON — Even as former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was denied an appeal for bail Thursday, it was revealed that he is also being investigated for his possible connection to a 2012 double homicide in Boston.
Hernandez, 23, was charged with first-degree murder along with five other weapons charges Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old semipro football player Odin Lloyd.
In Fall River Superior Court Thursday, not only did Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Renee P. Dupuis deny Hernandez’s appeal to be released on bail, but she added that she considered this to be a “very, very strong” circumstantial case.
Dupuis made that determination after hearing Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley reiterate most of the same charges and evidence that he listed Wednesday, when Hernandez was originally denied bail.
There was some additional discussion about the strength of the prosecution’s assertion of motive, but this apparently didn’t sway the judge. That is especially interesting because the investigation of Hernandez’s connection to a 2012 Boston double homicide directly addresses the possible motive for killing Lloyd.
A related development not mentioned at the appeal for bail was that another suspect was arrested in connection with the Lloyd murder.
McCauley did add some information about finding ammunition — including those of the same .45 caliber type as the casings found at the murder location — in a condo owned by Hernandez that was searched since Wednesday’s arraignment. The prosecutor also mentioned a picture on the internet of Hernandez holding a .45 caliber weapon, though the source and time of photograph weren’t known.
It was reported Thursday that Hernandez is being investigated for a possible connection to a 2012 double homicide in Boston. Investigators believe Lloyd may have had information about Hernandez’s role in the 2012 slayings, which could be at the heart of Hernandez’s motive for killing Lloyd, according to the Boston Globe.
Also, Connecticut officials confirmed Thursday the arrest of Carlos A. Ortiz of Bristol, where Hernandez grew up, in connection with the murder of Lloyd.
That is especially significant because, although Hernandez is accused of leading an “orchestrated execution” against Lloyd, he’s not indicated as the actual shooter. Lloyd’s body was found about a half mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Mass. home on June 17.
New Britain, Conn. State Attorney Brian Preleski confirmed in a written statement Thursday that Massachusetts authorities asked his office and Bristol police to help with their investigation of Lloyd’s death.
Ortiz, of Federal Street in Bristol, was charged Wednesday with being a fugitive from justice and later appeared in Superior Court in Bristol, Preleski said. Ortiz reportedly waived his right to an extradition hearing and documents related to Ortiz’s arrest and incarceration were sealed.
In his statement, Preleski said: “Both the Bristol Police Department and the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to provide whatever assistance we can in connection with this investigation. As the investigation is ongoing, we can have no further comment at this time.”
Ortiz’s original charge in Massachusetts was violation of probation, Bristol police said. They wouldn’t confirm that the arrest is related to the Hernandez investigation.
Court records show that Ortiz has a history of larceny and criminal mischief convictions, and was on probation at the time of his arrest Wednesday afternoon.
In both the Wednesday and Thursday recitation of charges and evidence against Hernandez, the prosecution referred to two other men, or “confederates.” They were never specifically named and it isn’t known whether Ortiz is one of them.
However, some of the prosecution’s descriptive evidence, including parts of a discussion in a car, weren’t sourced and could be the result of information given by either or both of the so-called “confederates.”
Also, as Hernandez’s defense lawyers pointed out, while the prosecution accused him of leading an “orchestrated execution,” there was not a specific indication of who may have done the actual shooting.
Much of the basis for the appeal for bail was founded on Hernandez having no prior, official criminal record and that he was a home owner, living with his fiancé and their eight-month old daughter.
Although his stable work history was also cited, Hernandez was cut by the Patriots even before his arraignment on Wednesday, indicating the team was eager to distance itself from the situation. He also lost several lucrative endorsement deals.
Hernandez, who was raised in Bristol, was drafted in the fourth round by the Patriots in 2010 after a great college career at the University of Florida. Last year, the Patriots gave him a five-year, $39.8 million contract extension.
Lloyd was a semi-pro football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancé. Lloyd’s family said that the two men were friends, but that since the murder, Hernandez hasn’t talked to them.
Prosecutors indicate Hernandez and Lloyd were at a Boston bar together June 14 and it was there that Lloyd allegedly said something to a third party that aggravated Hernandez. Investigators looking into Hernandez’s possible tie to the Boston murders believe it is possible that Lloyd may have discussed those murders that night and that is what infuriated Hernandez.