The 2013 NFL season had a chance to be the best of Aaron Hernandez’s young career. The New England Patriots were going to rely even more heavily on their tight end with the departure of Wes Welker and injuries to Rob Gronkowski. However, 10 months after the NFL star signed a five-year contract extension, he was behind bars.
Hernandez spent more than half of last year in jail. The 24-year-old still awaits trial after being charged with murder, and he’s being investigated in other cases as well. Here’s a look back at Hernandez’s legal troubles in 2013.
Odin Lloyd Murder
On the night of June 17, semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd was murdered, and his body was later found in a park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home. When news began to circulate of Hernandez’s possible involvement, it was initially thought that the NFL player would be charged in connection with the homicide, but not for the actual murder of Lloyd. On June 27, however, Hernandez was arrested for allegedly killing the victim.
The prosecution claims that Hernandez murdered Lloyd, and was accompanied by two men on the night of the incident. Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, associates of Hernandez, have been charged with being accessories to the crimes. All three men had pleaded not guilty.
As Hernandez continues to proclaim his innocence, it is no guarantee that the prosecution will be able to get a conviction. Police have yet to find the murder weapon, and other associates of Hernandez, including his fiancée and cousin, have been charged after refusing to cooperate with investigators or allegedly committing perjury. However, there is video surveillance footage of Hernandez holding a gun on the night of Lloyd’s death.
Two civil law suits were filed against Hernandez in 2013. One came from the family of Odin Lloyd, even though the criminal case has yet to go to trial. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that Hernandez "maliciously, willfully, wantonly, recklessly or by gross negligence” caused Lloyd’s death. Attorneys agreed that Hernandez’s house could be seized when the case is settled. The house is reportedly worth $1.6 million.
The other civil suit stems from an incident in February. It was filed by Alexander Bradley in June, shortly after Lloyd’s death. Bradley alleges that Hernandez, whom he once considered a friend, shot him in the face, following a night out at a Miami strip club. In that case, Hernandez asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, choosing not to incriminate himself when questioned.
July 2012 Murders
All of Hernandez’s legal issues in 2013 could be linked to a double homicide in Boston from July 2012. Two men were killed in a drive by shooting, and investigators are now looking into Hernandez’s involvement in the murders. According to reports, Hernandez could have killed Lloyd because he knew about the 2012 shooting. Bradley is also believed to have information about that night. Hernandez has not been charged regarding the incident in Boston.