Aaron Hernandez is on trial in the Bristol County killing of Odin L. Lloyd, an accusation that stunned the region and the football world when it emerged after the 2013 death of the 27-year-old from Dorchester.
These aren’t the only allegations against Hernandez. After this trial concludes, he will face a separate trial in Suffolk County in a 2012 double homicide that allegedly took place after a man bumped into Hernandez at a Boston nightclub.
The former Patriots tight end also faces a civil suit brought by a friend who accuses Hernandez of shooting him in the face and lawsuits filed by the survivors of the men he is accused of murdering.
Hernandez maintains his innocence in all of the cases.
But it was the death of Lloyd that first landed the high-flying NFL star in jail. He has been in custody for well over a year in advance of a trial that could cast new light on what authorities say was a dark side in the life of the Bristol, Conn., native.
What are the specific allegations against Hernandez?
Aaron Hernandez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Lloyd. Authorities say Hernandez orchestrated the killing, but have not said whether they believe he was the shooter. Two of his associates face similar charges in the case and both have pleaded not guilty.
Lloyd’s body was found in June 2013 with multiple gunshot wounds in an industrial yard near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.
Prosecutors have alleged that Hernandez, who went to a nightclub two days before the killing, might have shown Lloyd the spot of the 2012 homicide in which he was later accused — then regretted telling him.
The state will not be allowed to present evidence from the earlier killings in court, however, because Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh ruled that the state’s theory of the connection between the cases was “not a reasonable inference.”
Hernandez also faces firearms charges in Lloyd’s killing.
Had Hernandez been in trouble before?
Hernandez had a few issues when he was at the University of Florida, where he played college football. On one occasion, police said, a 17-year-old Hernandez punched a bouncer at a bar over a disputed bill. On another, he received a one-game suspension after testing positive for marijuana.
According to an image posted by TMZ in 2014, Hernandez took a picture of himself hoisting a handgun during his final year at Florida.
In the months before Lloyd’s killing, a Florida civil suit clams, Hernandez shot Alexander Bradley, blinding a hometown associate who has said he worked as a paid assistant to the football star. Hernandez was involved in two domestic disturbances at a rented condo in California, where he had traveled for workouts with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. No charges were filed in the California incidents.
How has Hernandez’s family been affected?
Investigators have pushed hard to get those close to Hernandez to cooperate, with limited success. Just days before the start of jury selection, one of his cousins, Jennifer Mercado, was granted immunity to testify in the trial.
On the same day, his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, was also seen leaving a closed-court hearing. Officials said a second immunity hearing had been held that day, but would not say whether Jenkins was there. Jenkins is facing perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury investigating the case.
Tanya Singleton, another of Hernandez’s cousins and Mercado’s sister, has twice pleaded guilty to contempt of court for refusing to testify before grand juries in both of the murder cases facing Hernandez.
What has been the involvement of the Patriots in this case?
The Patriots faced criticism for not doing enough to ferret out their player’s troubles. But they did drop Hernandez when he was charged in Lloyd’s killing and offered fans the opportunity to trade in jerseys bearing his name.