Aaron Hernandez embroiled in murder probe
The Dorchester family of Odin Lloyd, an acquaintance of New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, pleaded for justice Wednesday for the 27-year-old found slain Monday in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.
Lloyd’s violent death, ruled a homicide Wednesday after an autopsy, has brought police to Hernandez’s door, inside his house, and embroiled the Patriots tight end in an unfolding murder investigation.
Police are asking for help finding a silver side-view mirror, which may have broken off a car between Dorchester and North Attleborough, according to a statement from Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter. Sutter did not explain why the mirror is significant, or whose car it might have come from.
Lloyd’s sister Olivia Thibou wept Wednesday evening for her brother, saying, “He’s always had my back through everything. . . . And I hope that they find out who did it.”
Meanwhile, in a federal lawsuit filed last week in Florida, Hernandez is accused of shooting a man in February after an argument at a Miami strip club, Tootsie’s.
Alexander S. Bradley, a Connecticut resident, says in court filings that Hernandez fired a gun at him, either intentionally or by gross negligence, destroying Bradley’s right eye and causing extensive damage requiring multiple surgeries “to reconstruct his face.”
Now disfigured, Bradley has become “substantially disabled” and will need medical care for the rest of his life, the lawsuit says.
Police in Florida investigated the incident at the time, but Bradley did not name Hernandez as the shooter and investigators closed the case without filing charges.
After searching Hernandez’s sprawling North Attleborough home Tuesday, state troopers scoured the underbrush Wednesday near where Lloyd’s body was found. They used long sticks to push back the thick brush.
An investigator also searched the neighborhood around Lloyd’s home on Fayston Street in Dorchester for security or surveillance cameras. Though Boston police are working on the case with State Police from Sutter’s office, it was unclear which agency was looking for videotape.
Ropes & Gray, the law firm representing Hernandez, declined to discuss the case. “It has been widely reported in the media that the State Police have searched the home of our client, Aaron Hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation,” Michael Fee of the law firm said in a statement. “Out of respect for that process, neither we nor Aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion.”
In Dorchester Wednesday, a stream of friends, neighbors, and family members visited the yellow, two-family home where Lloyd lived.
About 11 a.m. a man describing himself as Lloyd’s uncle came to the door and spoke briefly about his nephew. No one in the family, he said, had seen Lloyd since Sunday.
“We’re not doing good,’’ said the uncle, who identified himself only as Ed. “It’s very tough, and I never expected to be put in this type of situation.”
Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, addressed reporters Wednesday evening.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank the person who found my son,” she said. “My son is a wonderful child. He’s a family guy.”
She struggled to continue, overcome with grief. “He hasn’t done anything to hurt anyone,” she said. “And all I have to say to you guys is please let me grieve my child in peace.”
She declined to comment about Lloyd’s relationship with Hernandez.
Several neighbors who live on the busy street said they have seen Lloyd and Hernandez together.
One Fayston Street neighbor, Kevin Mallory, said it was well known in the neighborhood that Lloyd hung out with members of the Patriots and was often seen driving a variety of cars, always marked with Patriots decals and stickers.
Mallory also said Lloyd usually kept to himself, but was a regular at a nearby park where Lloyd would go to work out, not hang out. He said Lloyd was in good shape and would probably be able to defend himself in a confrontation.
“Of everybody on this street, he was the one who could take care of himself,’’ Mallory said, “so there had to be some shaky stuff if he was the guy killed.’’
Lloyd, a linebacker for the semipro Boston Bandits, was in a good mood Saturday night, after knocking heads in a football scrimmage at a high school field in Boston, said his coach. Not only had he played well, Lloyd had taken time to mentor a younger teammate, in what is known as a working man’s league for amateurs who play for the love of the game.
Lloyd had played for the Bandits since 2007, head coach Olivier Bustin said in an interview. The speedy pass rushing specialist, listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 215 pounds, had played at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury, said Bustin.
The scrimmage finished about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and that was the last Bustin heard from Lloyd.
Lloyd attended O’Bryant until 2003 and earned a diploma from Hyde Park High School in 2005, according to the School Department.
Two criminal cases against Lloyd were dismissed in Dorchester District Court, records show. He was arrested in 2008 for an alleged fight and in 2010 was accused of breaking and entering.
In North Attleborough, State Police returned to the Hernandez home about 10 a.m. Wednesday. After knocking on the door and making several telephone calls from the front porch, they left.
A woman driving a silver Nissan Juke sport utility vehicle with license plate “Herndz” pulled into the driveway about 10:40 a.m., and carried a small white dog into the house. She declined to comment.
On Tuesday, a small platoon of troopers spent several hours searching Hernandez’s house on Ronald C. Meyer Drive.
The lawsuit in Florida, first reported Wednesday by the website TMZ, was filed last week. Bradley, the plaintiff, withdrew the lawsuit Monday because of an error in the text of the complaint, said his lawyer, David Jaroslawicz. He intended to refile the complaint Wednesday, after making a correction to a list of Bradley’s alleged injuries from the gunshot.
According to police reports on the incident filed with the Palm Beach sheriff’s office, authorities responded to 3635 Fiscal Court in Riviera Beach about 7 a.m. Feb. 13 and discovered Bradley, 30, lying behind a John Deere store with apparent gunshot wounds to his head and right hand. Staff at an area hospital later told police that Bradley had been shot in the right temple and had lost his right eye, said one of the reports. Bradley repeatedly told police he did not know who shot him and said the assailants were Hispanic and black males, the reports said.
Kevin Riddle, manager of the John Deere store, told police that he and an employee heard a single gunshot shortly after 6:30 a.m., and he later saw Bradley lying outside in a fetal position, bleeding from the head with his eyes swollen shut. Bradley begged for help: “Tell them to hurry — I’m gonna bleed out.” Bradley also told Riddle he did not know who shot him, saying: “I’m done talking — it hurts too bad.”
Bradley was “extremely uncooperative” with police on the way to the hospital and was “very rude and uncooperative” with hospital staff, as well, one report said. He refused to cooperate with investigators, prompting them to close the case.