(NYT) NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. — The N.F.L. player Aaron Hernandez was charged Wednesday with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semipro football player who was found dead on June 17 in an industrial park within a mile of Hernandez's home. He pleaded not guilty to that charge and five other gun-related charges.
Hernandez was arrested and led away from his home in North Attleborough, Mass., on Wednesday morning.
Hernandez, wearing a white T-shirt and red athletic shorts, was driven to the North Attleborough police department. He was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Attleborough District Court.
About an hour and a half after the arrest, the New England Patriots announced they had released Hernandez.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss," the team said in a statement. "Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation."
The N.F.L. said in a statement that "the involvement of an N.F.L. player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Lloyd's family members said Lloyd and Hernandez were friends who had been together the previous day. Published reports have indicated that Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Massachusetts State Police have twice searched Hernandez's home as well as a nearby pond and woods but until Wednesday would only characterize the investigation as "active and ongoing."
For the last several days, Hernandez has been secluded inside his home in an exclusive residential section near the Patriots training facility and stadium in the adjacent town of Foxborough. He was visited by one of his lawyers, James Sultan, Tuesday afternoon. Sultan brought some paperwork into Hernandez's home and spent about 20 minutes in the house. Roughly 18 hours later, North Attleborough police cruisers drove up the Hernandez driveway. Hernandez was escorted out of the ornate front door of his home and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Less than a year ago, Hernandez signed a contract extension with the Patriots, that with incentives, was worth nearly $40 million.
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