Cops: Evidence found in NFL suspect's secret apartment
A tip from a friend of the former Patriots player led authorities to the apartment where they found ammunition and other potential evidence
By Jay Lindsay
WRENTHAM, Mass. — Aaron Hernandez's home address was no secret after the media camped outside the massive house for days, and cameras caught him leaving, hands cuffed behind his back, when he was arrested for murder.
But police didn't know about his "flop house."
A tip from a friend of the former New England Patriots tight end led authorities to the apartment about 11 miles away. Subsequent searches turned up boxes of ammunition and clothing that police believe could help prove the murder case against Hernandez, according to court documents.
The items were found June 26, the day Hernandez was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the death of Odin Lloyd, according to search warrant records filed in Wrentham court.
Hernandez, 23, has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys have said the evidence against him is circumstantial and he's eager to clear his name. A message requesting comment on the documents was left Wednesday with a spokesman for Hernandez's legal team.
Hernandez's two-bedroom apartment, which went for $1,200 a month, was located in a three-story complex in Franklin, a few towns over from his North Attleborough house.
Police learned about it from Hernandez's friend, Carlos Ortiz. Prosecutors say Ortiz was with Hernandez and Ernest Wallace when they drove with Lloyd to an industrial park where Lloyd was shot. Police haven't said who shot Lloyd.
Ortiz, who lives in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn, has since been charged with carrying a firearm the day of the shooting. Wallace is charged with being an accessory after the fact in the slaying
According to the documents, Bristol police interviewed Ortiz the day before Hernandez was arrested. He told them "Hernandez has another address that not many people know about," and that he thought he'd left a cellphone there.
Police initially got the search warrant to look for Ortiz's phone. But as they spotted additional items in the apartment _ including a box of ammunition on an end table _ they applied for additional warrants for the residence, and for a Hummer parked outside.
In a bedroom, they found a white hooded sweatshirt, according to the documents. A cranberry-colored cap, with a light blue front panel and the word "society" spelled backward, was found on a kitchen table, the documents said.
Surveillance video showed Hernandez wearing a similar sweatshirt the night Lloyd was killed on June 17, the records said.
And he was wearing "this same unique hat" in a picture shown on a local news station taken outside a nightclub June 14, the Friday before the killing, according to the documents. Prosecutors say Hernandez arranged Lloyd's shooting because he was upset at him for talking to certain people at the club.
"The white sweatshirt could be used ... to assist in linking Hernandez to the scene of the crime," wrote Trooper Michael Bates, in an affidavit in support of one of the search warrants.
"The baseball hat could help provide the whereabouts of Hernandez on the Friday night before the homicide," Bates wrote. "This night in particular is a critical aspect in the timeline of events leading up to the homicide."
The searches also turned up a magazine loaded with .45-caliber ammunition and 11 boxes of ammunition, including .22-caliber, .45-caliber and 7.62 mm rounds.
Besides the Odin killing, Hernandez has been linked to the investigation of a double homicide in Boston.
Police in Bristol said Tuesday that, based on evidence developed through the investigation of Lloyd's slaying, Boston police asked for their help in their probe of the 2012 murders. Police have since searched a house in Bristol and seized a vehicle from that address.
Boston police have declined to comment on whether Hernandez is being looked at as a possible suspect in that case.
And over the weekend, a man who is reportedly married to Hernandez's cousin was killed in a car crash in Connecticut. Thaddeus Singleton III, 33, of Bristol, was driving the car when it went airborne early Sunday and crashed into the wall of the Farmington Country Club.
Farmington police said they had no knowledge that the crash was linked to the Hernandez case.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press
- Evidence Collection