NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who was, on Wednesday, charged with the murder of former semi-professional footballer, Odin Lloyd, lived in constant fear that people were out to kill him, sources close to the former New England Patriots tight end told TMZ.
The sources confirmed to TMZ that Hernandez was associated with gang members in Connecticut, and that the 23-year-old was trying to move away from them after he signed a deal with the Patriots in 2012.
But, Hernandez believed gang members were upset with him, and he was increasingly paranoid about people from his “old lifestyle” trying to kill him, the sources said, adding that this prompted him to stock up on firearms in a bid to protect himself.
Hernandez, on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his friend and fellow footballer Lloyd, and also to charges of possessing firearms.
But, photographs obtained by TMZ, showed that Hernandez possessed firearms as far back as 2009.
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A photograph, taken four years back in Gainesville, Fla., shows Hernandez posing with a Glock handgun. The photograph, taken by the player himself, shows a magazine inserted in the gun, but it is not clear if the gun is loaded, TMZ said.
During Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors alleged that Hernandez -- who was upset over a row with Lloyd at a Boston bar three days before the murder -- was set on killing Lloyd when he drove the 27-year-old to a remote industrial park, roughly a mile from Hernandez's North Attleborough home.
"He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to conceal and destroy evidence," NBC News quoted First Assistant District Attorney William McCauley as saying in a Massachusetts court. According to NBC News, surveillance footage obtained from Hernandez’s home shows the footballer leaving with a weapon.