Thursday, June 27, 2013

Globe Pass Defense All Over Hernandez

He should have known you can't escape the surveillance grid.

RelatedPatriots Tight End Held

Where's the flag!?! 

That why he couldn't get open?

"Aaron Hernandez is charged with murder; Former Patriot star is called orchestrator of an execution" by Mark Arsenault and Wesley Lowery |  Globe Staff, June 27, 2013

ATTLEBORO — Once cheered by thousands on the biggest stage in sports, former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez stood silently in handcuffs Wednesday, accused of planning and carrying out the cold-blooded execution of an acquaintance, Odin Lloyd.

Nine days after Lloyd’s bullet-ridden body was discovered in an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home, prosecutors broke their silence on the sensational case and charged the NFL tight end with first-degree murder and weapons violations that could keep the 23-year-old locked up for life.

Prosecutor William McCauley dispassionately laid out the allegations one by one, re-creating Hernandez’s actions on the night of the slaying through footage gathered from several security cameras along his route, including from Hernandez’s own home. As football fans across the region drew near their televisions to make out the muffled audio coming from the courtroom, the prosecutor alleged that Hernandez, released by the Patriots hours after his arrest, had orchestrated Lloyd’s killing.

And it was Lloyd himself, McCauley said, who seemed to prophesy his own death in a series of chilling text messages to his sister, sent in the last moments of his life, while Hernandez and two other men allegedly drove Lloyd down a darkened dirt road, to a secluded sand pit deep in the industrial park, away from lights and people and homes.

“Did you see who I am with?” Lloyd wrote after 3 a.m., minutes later offering the answer: “NFL.” And then following up with a final text: “Just so you know.”

Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, was shot multiple times by a .45-caliber weapon, and died where he was found, said McCauley. Investigators recovered shell casings from the crime scene, but have not found the gun.

I'm wondering what is the motive.

Hernandez was arraigned in Attleboro District Court before Judge Daniel O’Shea. He is being held without bail. His lawyer, Michael K. Fee, called the evidence against him circumstantial and weak and sought unsuccessfully to set bail.

Onlookers gathered at the foot of the courthouse steps to glimpse the young superstar, blessed with immense money and fame, who has become an object of grim fascination.

“I just don’t understand how he could be involved in all this,” said Pete Ciaccio, 66, of Holden, in town for his granddaughter’s middle school graduation. “He had a promising career in front of him, and now he’s thrown it all away and is losing it all.”

The Patriots organization, which had not commented on the case since Hernandez became a target in the investigation more than week ago, acted swiftly after the player was arrested shortly before 9 a.m., releasing the star tight end about 90 minutes later. A team source said that top members of the organization, including owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick, now both out of the country on vacation, decided last week to cut Hernandez if he was arrested.

“Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation,” the team said in a statement.

Hernandez’s name has been scrubbed from the Patriots’ website, where an unofficial team depth chart Wednesday morning listed Michael Hoomanawanui as the team’s number 2 tight end, behind starter Rob Gronkowski.

Prosecutors say that cellphone records show Hernandez texting with both Lloyd and two others described as his “compatriots” on the night of the slaying.

At 9:02 p.m. on June 16, Hernandez texted one of the friends, asking him to come up from Connecticut. Then, three minutes later, he texted Lloyd to tell him that he wanted to stop by and pick him up later. As Hernandez waited, he became impatient. At 9:35 p.m. he texted his friend again, “Get your ass up here,” and then later, at 10:23 p.m., “Hurry your ass up.”

At 1:12, on June 17, Hernandez and his friend departed from North Attleborough, McCauley said.

At 2:10 a.m., according to video footage, they stopped at a gas station, where Hernandez purchased a pack of Black & Milds, which McCauley described as a brand of minicigars often stripped of their tobacco and used as rolling papers to smoke marijuana, and a pack of Bubblicious chewing gum. At 2:32 a.m., the car pulled up in front of Lloyd’s home, and Hernandez texted him to let him know they were outside, McCauley said.

It was unclear where the group drove next, but prosecutors say that Lloyd sent the series of text messages to his sister while he was in the car.

At 3:23 a.m. surveillance cameras show a rented Nissan Altima, with Hernandez at the wheel, pulling into the entrance of the industrial park a half-mile from his home, McCauley said. Four minutes later, the same camera shows the vehicle quickly exiting the industrial park.

“In the interim, people who were working the overnight shift hear gunshots,” McCauley said. “One woman described five gunshots.”

Prosecutors allege that Lloyd was shot three times as he tried to exit the car. With bullet wounds in his arm, forearm, and back, Lloyd lay on the ground in pain. Then, prosecutors allege, someone stood over Lloyd and delivered two, execution-style kill shots to his chest.

Hernandez “orchestrated his execution,” McCauley said. “And that’s what it was, an execution.”

Video from Hernandez’s house shows him and two other men arriving at 3:30 a.m. Hernandez is seen in the video carrying one weapon, which police believe to be the murder weapon, while one of the men is seen carrying another, McCauley said. The men are seen walking around the house and down into the basement, at which point Hernandez’s video cameras shut off.

Prosecutors said that when police first showed up at the Hernandez home to question him, he did not respond to the doorbell.

An hour or two later, he came to the door and informed police that he knew they were outside because he had been watching them on his security camera system.

That admission, prosecutors said, is what led police to acquire a search warrant for his security cameras.

That's the first the Globe has mentioned the security system that was allegedly destroyed. Still nothing on the cleaners he hired to come in on a Monday.

The following day, Hernandez returned the Nissan Altima to the rental car outlet and rented a Chrysler 300, which the two other men used to leave Massachusetts.

WHAT is up with THAT?!!!!!

The rental company employee who cleaned out the Altima told police that she found a shell casing and a chewed piece of Bubblicious gum under the driver’s seat. After seizing a dumpster, police located the gum and the shell case, which they say matched others at the scene of the slaying.

Can these guys have been any dumber, although I suppose age factors in at some point.

Police have recovered two handguns, but neither is the murder weapon.

As prosecutors finished laying out how they believe the killing was carried out, Lloyd’s mother began sobbing and was led out of the courtroom.

Yeah, like an injured player that guy has basically been forgotten. Next play!

District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter would not comment on the whereabouts or status of the other two men seen with Hernandez in the videotape.

However, a man named Carlos Ortiz, 27, was being held Wednesday in connection to the case on a $1.5 million bond at the Hartford Correctional Center in Hartford, said a dispatcher at the center. The dispatcher did not know the charges against Ortiz.

As for a motive for the brutal slaying, the prosecution said Hernandez and Lloyd spent Friday evening together at a Boston nightclub, where Lloyd allegedly upset Hernandez by talking to people the NFL player “had some troubles with,” said McCauley.

A cousin of Lloyd’s said he saw Lloyd and Hernandez on Friday night at Rumor, the Boston night club, but did not notice anything out of the ordinary or any tension between them.

“It was just us,” said the cousin, who would give only his nickname, Shatta.

Anthony Paul, a close family friend, said he was shocked by the possible motive.

“I’m in disbelief,” Paul said. “If [Hernandez] didn’t trust Odin, there were other ways to resolve this.”

Prosecutors said that Hernandez’s fiancee and Lloyd’s girlfriend are sisters.

In Hernandez’s suburban neighborhood on Wednesday, the mood was somber....

The now former Patriot was an up-and-coming NFL talent, selected by the club in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft.

The Patriots signed Hernandez to a seven-year, $40 million contract before the 2012 season, which included $16 million in guaranteed money.

Hernandez may ultimately count over $5 million against the Patriots’ salary cap in 2013 and $7.5 million in 2014 even with him off the team.

A Patriots source said the team is expected to try to recoup some of the money already paid to Hernandez and obtain salary cap relief, though the timing of the release may make it tough to do so.

But the financial concerns were not much of a factor in deciding to part ways with Hernandez.

“At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do,” the team said in a statement.


The detective who helped crack the case:

"Surveillance images may shape Hernandez case" by Travis Andersen |  Globe Staff, June 27, 2013

There is video, prosecutors say, from inside Aaron Hernandez’s home showing the football star with a gun. Video of him near a gas station in Dorchester and at one in North Attleborough. Video of Hernandez and the man he is accused of killing, Odin Lloyd, entering an industrial yard where Lloyd’s bullet-pocked body was later found.

The case against Hernandez, laid out by prosecutors Wednesday, was largely assembled using swatches of video, the often unseen eyes of our era used by investigators to reconstruct crimes they cannot solve with more traditional methods.

In fact, during Hernandez’s arraignment, the only key image prosecutors did not mention having is of the shooting itself.

Hernandez, a New England Patriots tight end until the team cut him Wednesday, was arrested just two months after video clips helped investigators identify the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Yeah, except the NSA was scooping up all communications, FBI had a flier on the patsies, and on and on... and yet nothing was prevented.

But while the case against Hernandez appears strong, it will not guarantee prosecutors a conviction, legal specialists said.

Big Brother is watching today, right?” said Chris Dearborn, a criminal defense lawyer and professor at Suffolk University Law School. “You can’t go anywhere without there being a video camera somewhere that shows something. So I think it’s becoming increasingly more common to have surveillance footage for a lot of different situations.”

And who benefit$?

Dearborn said it was “maybe a little bit fortuitous” for investigators that some of the video evidence came from the surveillance system inside Hernandez’s own home.

“The detail that the prosecutor laid out, at least on first blush, was impressive,” said Dearborn, a former associate at one of the law firms representing Hernandez. “But when you unpack it a little bit, it is, in fact, at this point circumstantial. Someone can definitely be found guilty based on circumstantial evidence, but it has to be very strong.”

Gerard T. Leone Jr., a partner at Nixon Peabody and the former Middlesex district attorney, said prosecutors have reason to be optimistic.

“Based upon the evidence that was outlined today in court and other evidence that I’m assuming exists or will be developed, then I think any prosecutor would have a level of confidence in a conviction,” he said.

Leone said the fact that some of the video evidence comes from Hernandez’s home is not unusual.

“We even had cases where somebody was in the middle of a video chat and happened to create evidence against themselves because a criminal act occurred” during the chat, he said. “In the year 2013, we have more access to more types of video than we ever had before.”

Yeah, after Snowden blew the whistle on NSA monitoring I bet they do.

Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant, said he is not persuaded by the contention of Michael K. Fee, a lawyer for Hernandez, that the evidence is weak.

“The abundance of video surveillance footage of this defendant carrying a firearm is potentially something that is going to be very difficult for defense counsel to overcome at trial,” said Nolan, the incoming chairman of the criminal justice program at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

But even in the face of daunting circumstantial evidence, video or otherwise, defense lawyers have a powerful weapon in their arsenal, the presumption of innocence, said Martin Weinberg, a prominent Boston attorney whose former clients include notorious hitman John Martorano.

Martorano of Bulger trial fame? 

Look, I only know what I saw.... ???????

“Remember, if there’s a single reasonable doubt, a single break in the chain of circumstances, that is enough under the criminal justice system to end the charges,” Weinberg said. “If any part of a link in the chain is compelling, you accept it and then you try to de-link other pieces of the chain that are less compelling.”

That will probably prove difficult in the Hernandez case, said Suffolk Law professor Rosanna Cavallaro, a former assistant attorney general who also worked in the law office of attorney Alan M. Dershowitz, the famed defense lawyer and Harvard professor.

“It’s an uphill battle, unless there’s reason to think somebody’s been messing with it, splicing it,” she said of the video footage.

She said prosecutors may ultimately rely on the two men who police say were with Hernandez the morning Lloyd was killed to fill in gaps in the video evidence.

Gotta find them first.

However, she said, those men might testify in exchange for a reduced sentence, which could provide Hernandez’s lawyers with an opening to attack their credibility.

Harvey Silverglate, a criminal lawyer and civil libertarian, said the case touches on a larger question of surveillance in society. He has no objection to private businesses voluntarily using surveillance cameras and said it appears that police lawfully obtained the video evidence against Hernandez.

But, Silverglate said, he is troubled by the increasing prevalence of cameras installed by law enforcement and other groups that record citizens on public streets.

“The overriding question is, do you want to live in a society where Big Brother knows where you are at any given time?” he said.

They already do, and have for years! They are watching you as you are watching s***.


I'm reading that and I feel like I'm watching CNN.

"Anger, grief, and soul-searching in wake of Hernandez case" June 27, 2013

As the day went on the airwaves seemed refreshingly free of any teammates rushing to his defense, but one could only guess at the feelings of the children who wore those Hernandez jerseys, and of the difficult conversations going on in the homes of Patriots fans around the region.

I guess the Globe has already convicted him, and is beating him over the head with children.

Wow. I'm just wondering what kind of role models lying, looting politicians and their agenda-pushing, war-promoting mouthpieces make. 

I'll bet those Hernandez jersey's won't be selling at all now. 

Kids can throw away their shirts but can’t erase the memory of seeing the star receiver in handcuffs, with a blank expression, as a prosecutor detailed the long list of evidence against him.

Like any defendant, Hernandez deserves a presumption of innocence. But the revelations of the last two weeks — of a drug history, of possible tampering with evidence, of a lawsuit stemming from a second incident in which he is accused of shooting someone — are deeply shocking.

The charges against Hernandez go far beyond what even the most jaded fan might have envisioned. Is there really a but on that first one? That and the allusion to alleged tampering of evidence shocked me, and is the Globe's version of the hidden ball trick!

However deep their awareness of past incidents involving sports stars, fans deserve to know that good character is part of a pro athlete’s job description.

When is it going to be part of a Wall Street or corporate executive's?

Youngsters still look up to sports heroes, and older fans commit a lot of time and energy rooting for them.

Is it just me, or does the Globe really seem injured by this?

Most New England fans have heard, by now, how the Patriots took a chance on Hernandez despite a past drug suspension and a team scouting report that declared, “Self esteem is quite low; not well adjusted emotionally; not happy, moods unpredictable, not stable, doesn’t take much to set him off.”

To insist that teams must now blackball all troubled young prospects would be an unfortunate outcome of the Hernandez saga; often, kids from difficult backgrounds deserve a second chance in a nurturing environment. But everyone associated with professional sports — and especially the Patriots, who in recent years have taken on players whom other teams have rejected for behavioral reasons — must search for ways to reinforce the importance of good character, and to intervene early when players begin to stray....

The only reasonable question — for fans, teams, agents, and anyone else caught up in the drama of big-time sports — is to wonder how to make sure that they don’t face such shame and sadness as the Hernandez drama in the future.


There is a lot more in the sports. I'm punting.