Prosecutors in the ongoing Aaron Hernandez murder investigation believe that they may have identified the murder weapon. In newly released surveillance footage, Hernandez appears to be holding the gun that prosecutors believe he used to kill Odin Lloyd.
The photos, unsealed by prosecutors in Attleboro District Court on Thursday, are actually stills from home surveillance footage obtained from Hernandez’s mansion, Deadspin reports. In the footage, recorded on the night that prosecutors say Hernandez murdered Lloyd, the former New England Patriots star can be seen entering his North Attleboro home with what appears to be a gun.
The stills, which can be seen above, are actually cellphone camera pictures of photocopies of the original Hernandez surveillance footage, Deadspin notes. While these grainy photos are currently being circulated throughout Twitter and the rest of the Internet, it’s worth noting the prosecutors have access to much clearer images -- and presumably the surveillance video itself.
Authorities have been searching for a murder weapon ever since they confirmed that Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player, had been shot five times by a .45 caliber Glock handgun, Deadspin notes. Additionally, Thursday’s release noted that one or more of the bullets pierced Lloyd’s heart.
Although police have yet to recover the gun itself, they believe that the gun that Hernandez appears to be holding in the surveillance photos is the same weapon that was used in June to murder Lloyd in a North Attleboro, Mass., industrial park. Deadspin added that authorities are in possession of a magazine for a .45 caliber Glock handgun that is registered to Hernandez.
Thursday’s court documents also revealed that Hernandez initially told police that he didn’t have contact information for Ernest Wallace, one of the men that allegedly accompanied Hernandez on the night Lloyd was murdered. Authorities claim that Wallace’s phone number was found in Hernandez’s cell phone after he was arrested. The former Patriots tight end is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 22 for a probable cause hearing.
While police have yet to determine an exact motive for Hernandez’s alleged murder of Lloyd, law enforcement sources revealed on July 1 that Lloyd may have “mouthed off” to Hernandez about “secrets” concerning his past. Evidence recovered by police reportedly suggests that Lloyd had intimate knowledge of Hernandez’s criminal activities, including the 23-year-old’s alleged role in a 2012 double murder.
Prosecutors appeared before a federal grand jury on Wednesday in attempt to establish that Hernandez should be charged for the shootings of two men outside of a Boston nightclub, the Boston Globe reports. In July 2012, Hernandez reportedly fought with Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado mere hours before they were killed in a drive-by shooting.
If prosecutors can confirm that Hernandez killed Lloyd to cover up the 2012 double murder, then that premeditated killing, coupled with the fact that Hernandez's criminal activities stretch across state lines (Connecticut, Florida and Massachusetts), could result in a federal indictment. If that happens, the former football star would be subject to the death penalty.