Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez is facing some serious time on the bench after being charged with murder and five weapons counts in the death of his friend, semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. The Bristol, Conn. native was arraigned at Attleboro District Court on Wednesday, June 26, a few hours after being arrested at his North Attleborough, Mass. home.
Hernandez, 23, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The athlete has been at the center of an investigation into the death of Lloyd, 27, ever since Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park just a half-mile from Hernandez's house on Monday, June 17.
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He was reportedly with Lloyd the last night he was seen alive, and the pair had exchanged texts. Hernandez reportedly destroyed both his own cell phone and his house's home security system, sources tell ABC News.
Officials are also investigating why a team of cleaners was hired to scrub Hernandez's mansion on Monday, June 24, ABC reports.
Authorities tell ESPN that Lloyd was shot multiple times in the back and chest, execution-style. Lloyd and Hernandez were friends, family members told NBC, and the men's girlfriends were also sisters.
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Less than two hours after Hernandez was first taken into custody, the New England Patriots promptly dropped the tight end, issuing a statement expressing their condolences to Lloyd's family and distancing themselves from Hernandez.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss," the statement read. "Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation."
"We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing," it continued. "We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
Hernandez had been a part of the team since 2010, and signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the New England Patriots just last summer.
CBS Boston station WBZ-TV reports that all Hernandez gear has already been pulled off the shelves at the Patriots Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.