Murder victim had keys to car rented by NFL player

by Reuters
Thursday, 25 July 2013 21:16 GMT

(Adds background on case)

By Daniel Lovering

ATTLEBORO, Mass., July 25 (Reuters) - The body of a man thatformer New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is accused ofmurdering last month was found with the keys to a blackChevrolet Suburban that Hernandez had rented, according to courtpapers released on Thursday.

The victim, semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd,was discovered on June 17 in an industrial area not far fromHernandez' North Attleborough home. His cell phone containedmessages exchanged with Hernandez the night of Lloyd's death.

Authorities on Thursday released about 100 pages of heavilyredacted search warrants and affidavits related to theirinvestigation of Lloyd's death.

Hernandez was cut from the National Football League team onJune 26, shortly after police arrested him on charges that heorchestrated the execution-style murder.

The former tight end has pleaded not guilty to six criminalcounts including murder and weapons charges tied to Lloyd'sdeath last month.

Hernandez made a brief appearance in Massachusetts statecourt on Wednesday, when Judge Daniel O'Shea agreed to a requestby prosecutors to delay until Aug. 22 a hearing to establishprobable cause in the case.

Lloyd's body, which was found about a less than a mile fromHernandez's home, had been shot five times at close range withtwo of the bullets passing through his body, prosecutors havesaid.

Prosecutors said that Hernandez soured on Lloyd, 27, a fewnights before the body was found, with the two arguing afterLloyd socialized at a nightclub with people that Hernandezdisliked.

Two other men have been taken into custody in connectionwith the case. Ernest Wallace, who is suspected of being an"accessory after the fact," turned himself in to police inMiramar, Florida, last month. Another man, Carlos Ortiz, wasarrested in Connecticut on charges of being a fugitive fromjustice.

Hernandez, 23, had been a rising young star in the NFL whohad signed a $41 million contract with one of the league's topfranchises before his arrest.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday made his firstremarks on the case, saying that the team had been "shocked anddisappointed" by the news. (Editing by Scott Malone and Tim Dobbyn)

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