FALL RIVER, Mass. — Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez, in jail awaiting trial in the shooting death of a friend at a Massachusetts industrial park in June, is due back in court on Wednesday for a hearing where lawyers will discuss evidence in the case.
Hernandez, 23, was a tight end for the New England Patriots with a $41 million contract when he was arrested on June 26 and charged in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, nine days earlier. The Patriots dropped Hernandez a few hours after his arrest.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include one count of murder and several firearms-related offenses.
At a 2 p.m. ET (1600 GMT) hearing at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, attorneys were expected to argue about the production of evidence and a gag order imposed by the judge which has limited their ability to discuss the case publicly.
Prosecutors contend that Hernandez summoned Lloyd to his home in North Attleborough on June 17, a few nights after the two had argued at a nightclub because Lloyd had been speaking with people Hernandez disliked.
On the night of the shooting, Hernandez and two other men drove Lloyd to an isolated industrial park, while Lloyd sent his sister text messages telling her who he was with, a series of messages that ended “just so you know,” prosecutors said.
When the men arrived at the industrial park, prosecutors say Hernandez shot Lloyd five times, twice while standing over his victim as he lay on the ground.
Hernandez’s attorneys have described the local prosecutors’ case as weak and circumstantial, noting that they have not presented the gun that Hernandez is accused of using in the killing.
Hernandez is being held in Bristol County Jail while awaiting trial.
The other men who were in the car that night, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, have been charged with accessory to murder after the fact.