Court records released Tuesday in the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation bring the prosecution’s case into sharper focus, further establishing connections between the former New England Patriots star, two friends from Bristol also charged in the June 17 shooting, and the victim.
But nothing in the 156 pages of documents indicates who the government believes pulled the trigger. The gun used in the slaying has not been found.
The records, including documents that detail the items seized through search warrants executed at Hernandez’s Massachusetts home, an apartment he owned and for automobiles he rented, show that police recovered a surveillance video from Fayston Street in Boston, where victim Odin Lloyd lived, showing him getting into a car with Hernandez and his friends at 2:33 a.m on June 17.
A minute earlier, records indicate, Lloyd received the last of five cellphone calls from Ernest Wallace, one of two Bristol men that Hernandez had texted earlier in the night to come up to Massachusetts.
Surveillance video shows the car entering the industrial park, where Lloyd’s body was found, sometime after 3 a.m. Lloyd had sent a series of text messages to his sister to tell her he was with Hernandez, whom he referred to as “NFL.” Witnesses who worked nearby told investigators they heard gunshots between 3 and 3:30 a.m.
Hernandez, Wallace and the third man, believed to be Carlos Ortiz, are seen getting out of that same car at 3:27 a.m. at Hernandez’s house in North Attleborough, less than a mile from where Lloyd’s body was discovered the next morning. The three men are seen on camera going into Hernandez’s home. At 3:33 a.m. Hernandez is seen on video standing at the entrance to the basement with what appears to be a gun in his hands, according to a search warrant affidavit. Prosecutors at Hernandez’s bail hearing said that gun resembles the Glock .45 used in the killing.
Prosecutors released records related to eight search warrants on Tuesday, including one for the contents of Hernandez’s old locker at Gillette Stadium. Police also searched the North Attleborough home several times, an apartment in Franklin rented by Hernandez, several cars and the phones of Hernandez and Lloyd.
Hernandez has been charged with murder and also faces numerous gun charges. Wallace is charged with accessory after the fact to murder and Ortiz is charged with illegal possession of a firearm. Ortiz appeared in court Tuesday for a hearing on whether he is a danger to society and was ordered held without bail until a hearing on Aug. 14.
Hernandez has been held without bail since his arrest on June 26. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 24 for a probable cause hearing on the murder charges. Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Shutter had originally asked that all of the search warrants be sealed but a judge ruled this week that they should be made public.
The 156 pages offer new details into the investigation and the police search for the gun.
Among the new details:
•Police served a warrant on the New England Patriots to search items removed from Hernandez’s Patriots locker, hoping to find evidence of gun purchases or connections to Lloyd. There is no indication in the records that they found anything related to the slaying. Hernandez had been released by the team the same day he was charged with murder.
•Police seized two cellphones and three iPads from Hernandez’s home. Police found a 203 area code number on Lloyd’s phone that they believed to be Hernandez’s number and that showed texts back and forth the night of the murder. When Hernandez came to the station, an officer called the number and Hernandez’s phone rang. The officer hung up when Hernandez picked up, documents show.
•When police searched Hernandez’s home they found a scale and dish used to weigh drugs in a safe. They also found dozens of bullets in that house as well as boxes of .45 bullets in a Franklin apartment he rented.
•Lloyd had $64.75 on him when his body was found as well as the keys to a Chevrolet Suburban that was rented in Hernandez’s name. Police found the Suburban in Lloyd’s yard on Fayston Street.
•Lloyd and Hernandez went out together Friday night and apparently got so drunk that they never made it back to Hernandez’s home. Lloyd told his girlfriend they slept outside, documents show. The two men had gone to Rumors, a nightclub in Boston, where a witness told police Hernandez was seen with a gun in his waistband.
The documents also show that Hernandez was uncooperative with police when they came to question him. When detectives started asking him about when he last saw Lloyd, Hernandez became argumentative and asked, “What’s with all the questions?”
He then went inside and got his lawyer’s business card and told police to call him. When police said they were conducting a death investigation Hernandez “slammed the door and locked it behind him.” He did not ask whose death was being investigated.
Hernandez also stopped his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, from talking to police. Jenkins had burst into tears when investigators told her that Lloyd was dead.
Jenkins then told police that Lloyd was a marijuana dealer, records show. None of the two dozen other people police interviewed about Lloyd made that accusation. While Jenkins was talking to police Hernandez called her and told her his sports agent said she should not speak with them.
The records also show that Hernandez had a penchant for renting cars. Besides the Suburban he rented for Lloyd and a silver Altima, records also indicate Hernandez rented a gray Chrysler 300C when he returned the Altima the evening of June 17. The manager at the rental car company found a .45-caliber bullet casing and chewed blue bubble gum — which she said Hernandez offered her a stick of when he returned the car — in the Altima under a colorful child’s drawing. Investigators later retrieved the casing, the chewed gum and the drawing from a dumpster.
Meanwhile, surveillance footage shows that Wallace and Ortiz dropped Hernandez off at his home in North Attleborough shortly after he rented the Chrysler. That car was later found parked outside a Bristol condominium complex.
By Jenny Wilson and Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant