BOSTON (Reuters) – Former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez was indicted on first-degree murder by a grand jury in Massachusetts for the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, a court official said on Thursday.
Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, is scheduled to appear in a Massachusetts court on Thursday for a hearing related to the June shooting of Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
An official with the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, who declined to give her name citing court policy, said Hernandez had been indicted. A spokesman for Bristol Country District Attorney Sam Sutter declined to comment.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts, including murder and weapons charges tied to Lloyd’s death. A lawyer for Hernandez has called the prosecution’s case circumstantial.
Hernandez is due to appear at Attleboro District Court on Thursday at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
Hernandez was cut from the Patriots on June 26, shortly after police arrested him for purportedly orchestrating the execution-style murder.
Lloyd, 27, had been dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. Prosecutors said Hernandez soured on him a few nights before the body was found, and that the two had argued after Lloyd socialized at a nightclub with people Hernandez disliked.
Two other men have been arrested in connection with the case: Ernest Wallace, who turned himself in to police in Florida and has been accused of being an “accessory after the fact,” and Carlos Ortiz, arrested in Connecticut on charges of being a fugitive from justice.
Hernandez, 23, had been a rising star in the NFL who signed a $41 million contract with one of the league’s top franchises before his arrest.
Earlier this month, the TMZ website published an image of what it said was a letter Hernandez wrote to a fan from jail saying he believed God was testing him, and that eventually he would be found not guilty of murder.