Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder and released by the New England Patriots on Wednesday, nine days after an acquaintance was found murdered in an industrial park near his house.
Hernandez, 23, was arrested and led in handcuffs from his North Attleborough home to a police cruiser, then quickly driven away shortly before 9 a.m. ET. He was booked by the Massachusetts State Police, and was arraigned at 2 p.m. at Attleboro District Court.
The Patriots swiftly cut ties with their star tight end after the arrest and before the charge was handed down, believing that Hernandez's alleged involvement in the shooting death of 27-year-old semipro football player Odin Lloyd was enough.
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"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss
," the Patriots said in a statement. "Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing.
We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
The NFL also released a statement Wednesday.
"The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling
," the league's statement said. "The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Hernandez wore a white V-neck T-shirt, long red athletic shorts and black sneakers as he was led out around 9 a.m. ET from his mansion, as he walked past a large media presence that gathered nearby.
The arrest warrant was prepared last week after police found that the security system at Hernandez's home, along with his cell phone, was destroyed, sources told ABC News
. State police officers and dogs also searched his home several times, including a 3 1/2-hour period on Saturday.
Neighborhood surveillance video also showed Hernandez with Lloyd and two other people hours before Lloyd was killed, ABC News reported.
The Patriots reportedly made the decision last week to cut Hernandez
. Despite speculation that they had advance knowledge of the case, the Patriots had simply decided that they didn't want to be associated with a player implicated at some level in a homicide investigation, according to NFL.com.
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