ATTLEBORO, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The body of a man that former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is accused of murdering last month was found with the keys to a black Chevrolet Suburban that Hernandez had rented, according to court papers released on Thursday.
The victim, semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, was discovered on June 17 in an industrial area not far from Hernandez’ North Attleborough home. His cell phone contained messages exchanged with Hernandez the night of Lloyd’s death.
Authorities on Thursday released about 100 pages of heavily redacted search warrants and affidavits related to their investigation of Lloyd’s death.
Hernandez was cut from the National Football League team on June 26, shortly after police arrested him on charges that he orchestrated the execution-style murder.
The former tight end has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts including murder and weapons charges tied to Lloyd’s death last month.
Hernandez made a brief appearance in Massachusetts state court on Wednesday, when Judge Daniel O’Shea agreed to a request by prosecutors to delay until August 22 a hearing to establish probable cause in the case.
Lloyd’s body, which was found about a less than a mile from Hernandez’s home, had been shot five times at close range with two of the bullets passing through his body, prosecutors have said.
Prosecutors said that Hernandez soured on Lloyd, 27, a few nights before the body was found, with the two arguing after Lloyd socialized at a nightclub with people that Hernandez disliked.
Two other men have been taken into custody in connection with the case. Ernest Wallace, who is suspected of being an “accessory after the fact,” turned himself in to police in Miramar, Florida, last month. Another man, Carlos Ortiz, was arrested in Connecticut on charges of being a fugitive from justice.
Hernandez, 23, had been a rising young star in the NFL who had signed a $41 million contract with one of the league’s top franchises before his arrest.
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday made his first remarks on the case, saying that the team had been “shocked and disappointed” by the news.
Editing by Scott Malone and Tim Dobbyn