Aaron Hernandez stood with his hands cuffed in front of him, wearing a white, V-neck T-shirt and a look mostly devoid of emotion. This was inside Attleboro District Court in Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon, just feet away as a prosecutor read off a web of evidence that put him at the scene of Odin Lloyd's death 10 days ago and led to this most serious of charges:
Murder for the former New England Patriots tight end.
If Hernandez felt any fear over charges that could take him from the glory of the NFL to a life sentence, he didn't show it. If he felt any emotion over the death of his one-time friend, even as Lloyd's mother had to leave the courtroom, he didn't show it. If he was moved to anger about the judge denying him bail as he awaits trial, he didn't show it.
He was mostly calm and unmoved, eyes wide open and occasionally reaching his cuffed hands up and rubbing his face. Meanwhile, Bristol County prosecutor William McCauley went on and on for more than 20 minutes laying out a case where via text messages, cell phone tower contact and surveillance video showed Hernandez and Lloyd traveling together to North Attleboro, a bedroom community south of Boston where Hernandez lived on the day Lloyd was found dead.
The state charges that the previous Friday night, Hernandez and Lloyd were at a Boston club together, and that Hernandez was upset with Lloyd for associating with people whom he had a previous disagreement. The state says it has video from Hernandez's house of Hernandez saying, hours before Lloyd's body was found, "you can't trust anyone anymore."
It contends that Hernandez then drove Lloyd to a dark area near an industrial park where, between 3:23 a.m. and 3:27 a.m. on June 17, Hernandez and two other men shot Lloyd five times, execution style.
Police have not found a murder weapon and didn't reveal any specific evidence that showed Hernandez was a/the triggerman, although it alleges he delivered all five bullets into Lloyd's body. A slew of video evidence put Hernandez, at the very least, there for the murder. At the scene there were bullets, casings and even a piece of chewed gum.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty to murder as well as five other weapons charges. His attorney, Michael Fee, declared the case "circumstantial" and "weak" when asking for bail for the football player.
"We look forward to our day in court," Fee said.
[Related: Releasing Aaron Hernandez is the Patriots way]
So too, it appears does the state.
Wednesday's developments began at 8:45 a.m., with state police hauling Hernandez out of his McMansion in cuffs with a T-shirt pulled over his upper body as news crews filmed the perp walk.
Suddenly, what went from reports of obstruction of justice charges resulted in far more serious charges.
If the state's case is correct, it is the latest example of a life of a 23-year-old who was seemingly on top of the world – rich, famous and with a young child and fiancée back at home instead choosing to live a life out of some bad gangster movie.
This isn't a crime of passion. This wasn't an instant decision or accidental shooting. This was cold and calculated, a grown man with a $41.1 million contract trying to settle some juvenile sign of disrespect in the most pathetic way-of-the-street imaginable.
Hernandez isn't from a troubled family. He isn't from a terrible neighborhood in Bristol, Conn. He isn't a young kid. He's had a support system available for years and years looking to help him with whatever emotional issues he was dealing with – his football value made everyone want to help.
Instead he was involved in incident after incident, the final one, the state says, is this indefensible homicide. A punk execution of a friend for talking with the wrong people? It's almost unfathomable, the kind of crime an emotional teen would make, not someone of means and even moderate maturity.
On the drive down from Boston, Odin Lloyd knew he was in trouble, texting his sister and asking her if she knew who he left the club with, seemingly offering up a clue in case this went as bad as it did.
"NFL," Lloyd texted her.
Minutes later he was killed like it was a mob hit, the prosecution alleges, only it was a clumsy crew of wannabe gangsters that did it, ones that left so many clues behind it didn't take long for the cops to bag it all together.
[More: Browns rookie LB Ausar Walcott charged with attempted murder]
So Wednesday, there was Aaron Hernandez – "NFL" – standing unfazed in a court room listening to the evidence against him, his whole life on the line now and his ability to catch footballs is no longer able to save him.
NFL.com video of statements by defense following Hernandez's arraignment:
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