ATTLEBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in the shooting death of a friend prosecutors say had angered the football player at a nightclub a few days earlier by talking to the wrong people.
Hernandez, 23, was taken from his North Attleborough home in handcuffs just over a week after Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile away.
Less than two hours after the arrest, the Patriots announced they had cut Hernandez, a 2011 Pro Bowl selection who signed a five-year contract worth $40 million last summer.
Lloyd was a 27-year-old athlete with the Boston Bandits who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. He was shot repeatedly in the back and chest, authorities said.
Hernandez "orchestrated the crime from the beginning," prosecutor Bill McCauley said.
If convicted, the NFL player could get life in prison without parole.
"It is at bottom a circumstantial case. It is not a strong case," his attorney, Michael Fee, said at a court hearing during which Hernandez was ordered held without bail on murder charges and five weapons counts.
Lloyd's family members cried and hugged in the courtroom as the prosecutor outlined the killing. Two relatives were so overcome with emotion that they had to leave the courtroom.
McCauley said the crime stemmed from a night out at a Boston club called Rumor on June 14. He said Hernandez was upset about certain things, including that Lloyd had talked to some people Hernandez "had troubles with."
Hernandez had recently installed a surveillance system and had 14 cameras inside and outside the house, according to McCauley, who said detectives found footage was missing from the six or eight hours after the slaying.
In arguing unsuccessfully for bail, Hernandez's attorney said the athlete is unlikely to flee, is a homeowner, and lives with his fiancee and an 8-month-old baby. He also said Hernandez had never been accused of a violent crime.