NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) - A "cold-blooded" killing. That was how a judge described the crime Aaron Hernandez is accused of committing before she denied the star tight end's request for bail.
Hernandez appeared in Fall River Superior Court Thursday afternoon for a bail review hearing.
His lawyers requested the proceeding after a District Court judge the day before sided with the prosecution and ordered the former Patriot held without bail until his next court appearance in July.
Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, 27. Lloyd's body was found June 17 in a North Attleboro industrial park, about a mile from Hernandez's home.
During the hearing, Hernandez's lawyers and the prosecution each made similar cases to the ones that were made Wednesday. The defense team argued Hernandez, with his celebrity status and high-profile background, could not possibly make any successful attempt to flee. Whereas the prosecution remained adamant the evidence against Hernandez is so strong that he has no right to a bail release.
Defense: No bail is "loss of liberty"
The defense team also brought up Hernandez's football stardom and the fact he is in a long-term relationship with his fiancee; arguing it shows his client is a "professional" and an "accomplished, extremely hard-working" man.
Defense attorney James Sultan argued the football star "cooperated fully" with the police during their investigation. He said that the fact that Hernandez stayed put while his arrest was "imminent" proves he is not a flight risk. Sultan also condemned police for "unnecessarily" embarrassing Hernandez by arresting him in front of his family and "dragging him out in handcuffs in front of the media."
"If he is denied bail, if he is forced to remain locked up, that's irreparable time he can never get back," the defense stated. "Even if he's vindicated of all charges, this would be a devastating impact on his family."
"The evidence of his guilt is overwhelming," said Bristol County First Asst. District Attorney William McCauley, making it clear the prosecution remained adamant that no bail should be set throughout the duration of Hernandez's trial.
McCauley then laid out again the alleged timeline of events leading up to Lloyd's murder. McCauley said Hernandez and two other men picked up Lloyd at his Dorchester home early Monday morning and drove him to North Attleboro. He said Hernandez was seen on surveillance cameras driving to and from the vicinity of where Lloyd's corpse was found, fatally wounded by multiple gunshot reportedly fired from close range.
An investigation revealed that Hernandez and Lloyd were friends; in fact, Lloyd was dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister. The prosecution also revealed, through text message exchanges, that Hernandez and Lloyd - along with two other men - were together on the night of Lloyd's death.
On Thursday, the prosecution gave more details in their investigation, accusing Hernandez of withholding evidence and forcing others to do the same; also, they said Hernandez purchased rental cars for the other two men he was with that night and those two men immediately fled the jurisdiction.
"At one point when police were interviewing his girlfriend, he told her to stop talking to them," the prosecution said. "Further, there was surveillance footage that was recovered from his house immediately after the crime, and that surveillance was destroyed."
The prosecution described him as a flight risk because, if convicted, he could potentially "be looking at a sentence of life without any chance of parole."
"He has the means to [flee] and the motivation to do it," McCauley said.
Ruling: "Very, very strong circumstantial case"
After hearing the two sides' arguments, Superior Court Judge Renee P. Dupuis made her ruling.
"The facts as I understand them is that this gentleman is accused, either by himself or with two other people... in a cold-blooded fashion, killed a person because that person disrespected him," Dupuis said
She continued, "Given all the circumstances in this case, despite the fact that he has a fiancee and a baby and is a homeowner, he also has the means to flee. A bracelet wouldn't keep him here, nor would $250,000."
"I am going to deny the defendant's petition."