Updated at 10:28 a.m.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and taken into police custody this morning, nine days after the body of Odin Lloyd was found less than a mile from his home. A little less than two hours later, the Patriots released him.
After about a dozen officers arrived at Hernandez’s North Attleboro, Mass., home at 8:45 a.m., he was led away in handcuffs and taken away in the back seat of a police cruiser. At the moment, it is not clear what the charges are against Hernandez, whose home and a pond near it have been searched multiple times since Lloyd’s body was discovered June 17.
“Today at approximately 8:47 a.m., Aaron Hernandez was arrested by Massachusetts State Police and North Attleboro Police. He will be arraigned at Attleboro District Court,” C. Samuel Sutter, the Bristol County district attorney, said in a statement. The state police said (via Twitter) that they will release no information on the charges until he is arraigned later today.
The Patriots announced their decision to part with Hernandez, a talented tight end who fell to the fourth round in the draft because of character issues at Florida, at 10:20 a.m. They wasted no time in cutting a player they’d given a $40 million contract 10 months ago.
“A young man was murdered last week,” the team said in statement. “We extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law-enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing, we support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
The NFL echoed the Patriots’ statement. “The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. “The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd’s family and friends.”
On Tuesday, Michael Fee, Hernandez’s lawyer, had criticized media members for reports that an arrest warrant had been issued. However, James L. Sultan, a Boston criminal defense lawyer, visited Hernandez’s home Tuesday afternoon, according to a Boston Globe report. He left after about 30 minutes and did not speak to reporters. Fee told the Globe that Sultan’s firm, Rankin & Sultan, has acted as co-counsel since the investigation began.
About five police cars, including a marked cruiser, arrived at Hernandez’s home at around 8:40 a.m.. Hernandez, who was shirtless, greeted them at the front door and, about five minutes later, he was escorted from the house with a white T-shirt pulled over his hands, which were cuffed behind his back.
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) June 26, 2013
— Victoria Warren (@vwarrenon7) June 26, 2013
The bullet-ridded body of Lloyd, a 27-year-old former semipro football player, was found at an industrial site on the evening of June 17. He is believe to have had a relationship with the sister of Hernandez’s fiance and reportedly is shown on videotape with Hernandez on the night of his death.