NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH — Prominent Boston criminal defense lawyer James L. Sultan visited the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez Tuesday afternoon amid an ongoing homicide investigation that has embroiled the football player for more than a week.
Sultan is a veteran of several high-profile cases, including that of a former Citibank executive twice convicted in a fatal stabbing Nantucket in 2004. Sultan secured the second trial for the man on appeal. Sultan entered Hernandez’s home with another man shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
He left about 30 minutes later without speaking to reporters camped out across the street. Sultan did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
Michael K. Fee, a lawyer for Hernandez, said in an e-mail that Sultan’s firm, Rankin & Sultan, has acted as cocounsel since the outset of the investigation. Fee, a partner at the firm of Ropes & Gray, did not elaborate or respond to follow-up inquiries.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the clerk-magistrate of Attleboro District Court, Mark E. Sturdy, issued a statement saying that all records in his office relating to the investigation had been impounded by court order.
Sturdy provided no explanation for the order, and he did not return a message left at his office.
Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, an acquaintance of Hernandez, was found dead June 17 in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough. Lloyd’s death, ruled a homicide, has led police to repeatedly search Hernandez’s residence and a nearby stream.
It has also put the 23-year-old football player in the spotlight, including a day last week when news helicopters followed him as he drove from his home to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and to his lawyer’s office at the Prudential Center in Boston.
Hernandez has not been seen off his property since returning to his house Friday afternoon after a meeting with his lawyers. About 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, he was seen walking in his backyard with a young woman and a small dog.
The attention was wearing on neighborhood residents Tuesday night.
Shortly before 8 p.m., as a light drizzle began, a group of about 10 children from the neighborhood marched past members of the press gathered in the vacant lot across from the Hernandez house holding homemade signs and chanting “we want our neighborhood back” and “no more media.”
The signs expressed the same sentiments as their chants. “It was our parents’ idea,” said Caitlyn Coady, 13, who was with her brother, Sean, 9. “We want our neighborhood to be safe again.”
In addition to the visit from Sultan Tuesday, a woman arrived at Hernandez’s house at about 8:30 a.m. and left around 6:30 p.m. with another woman. They did not speak to the press.
The visits followed an incident Monday, in which a man pulling away from the house in a sport utility vehicle threw business cards out the driver’s side window for a Providence barber named Robby Olivares.
Olivares later told the Globe that he is Hernandez’s regular barber and came by to give him a haircut, but he did not say what they discussed.
Yasmina Serdarevic, a spokeswoman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office, said Tuesday that the inquiry into Lloyd’s death was “active and ongoing,” and that officials can only release limited information.
“We are trying to protect the integrity of the investigation,” she said. “Once we are able to share information, the district attorney will be speaking.”
On Monday, Fee denied reports that an arrest warrant had been issued for his client. The Globe has reported that police recovered video apparently showing Hernandez and Lloyd together in Boston hours before Lloyd was found dead.Martin Finucane of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Juliet Pennington contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@
globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Alyssa A. Botelho can be reached at alyssa.botelho@ globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaABotelho.