By Erika Niedowski And Bridget Murphy Associated Press
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is holding what authorities have said is a gun in several surveillance photos that were released Thursday and had been recorded hours before — and minutes after — his friend was shot to death.
The photos, taken from Hernandez’s home surveillance system, are in more than 100 pages of court records released by Attleboro District Court. Prosecutors have previously described the photos in court and in affidavits, but this is the public’s first look at images showing Hernandez holding a gun both before and after the killing.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston semi-professional football player whose body was found June 17 in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home. He was shot five times.
Four pictures show Hernandez in his basement holding a gun shortly after Lloyd was killed, an affidavit released Thursday says. The surveillance was cut off within minutes.
Two other photos show what authorities say is Hernandez in his living room, a few hours before Lloyd’s killing, also holding what they say is a gun.
Authorities believe Lloyd was killed with a .45 caliber Glock, which they have said hasn’t been recovered. Prosecutors have said previously that a gun Hernandez is seen holding in the home surveillance appears to be a Glock.
Authorities recovered an ammunition clip for .45 caliber bullets in Hernandez’s Hummer as well as ammunition of the same caliber inside a condo he rented in Franklin, Mass.
The previously sealed documents were released after several media organizations, including The Associated Press, filed motions seeking access and Judge Daniel O’Shea agreed Wednesday that they are public records.
Defense attorneys have objected to the unsealing of the records, saying it is “systematically undermining” Hernandez’s right to a fair trial.
Also Wednesday, O’Shea sided with prosecutors who asked to delay a probable cause hearing for Hernandez to give them more time to present evidence in the murder case to a grand jury. That hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 22.
Hernandez will continue to be held without bail until then.
Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd’s killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with at a nightclub a few days earlier.
They say Hernandez and two associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, drove with Lloyd to the North Attleborough industrial park. Authorities have not said who fired the shots, but documents filed in Florida portray the former Patriot as the triggerman. According to the records, Ortiz told police that Wallace said Hernandez fired the shots.
The Patriots released Hernandez within hours of his arrest.
Speaking at length Thursday for the first time since Hernandez’s arrest, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the team has had a “challenging offseason” and that it must work hard to “re-establish what we’re all about.”
The University of Florida, where Hernandez played in college, also said it is removing all references to him in and around the stadium in Gainesville. The University Athletic Association said in a statement it “didn’t feel it was appropriate to celebrate” the former Gator.