Asst. sports editor
On Sept. 6, former Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to six charges, including first-degree murder, following his arrest and indictment in the June 17 killing of 27-year-old semi professional football player Odin Lloyd, boyfriend of Hernandez’s girlfriend’s sister.
The other charges held against him include possession of large capacity firearms and possession of firearms without a firearm license. Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, childhood friends of Hernandez, are accomplices in this case.
In an article posted Sept. 6 on boston.com, Charles Rankin, Hernandez’s defense attorney, stated that Hernandez would not be convicted during trial due to the evidence being mostly circumstantial.
“We’re confident that, at the end of the trial, Aaron will be exonerated,” Rankin said.
The evidence against Hernandez includes a smashed-up security system, a photo of Hernandez with a weapon similar to the murder weapon and a recorded statement from Ortiz saying that Wallace admitted Hernandez’s guilt.
Many argue that Hernandez is guilty, while others believe he is innocent. Two men wearing “Free AH 81” t-shirts and a woman wearing a discontinued Patriots jersey with his number, 81, were seen standing outside of the courthouse Sept. 6, confirming that Hernandez does have support from fans.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Hernandez remains in a compromising position due to his damaged reputation as a responsible football player and overall person.
He has talent with career statistics of 175 receptions, 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three-year career with the Patriots, but it is hard to believe that Hernandez will be signed if he is exonerated. Not to say he will never be signed again, but this investigation has damaged the chances of him continuing his NFL career.
Within hours of his arrest, the Patriots released Hernandez from the team. His next court hearing for bail is scheduled for Oct. 9, but the trial date is not expected to occur until 2014.