Tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged Wednesday in Massachusetts with murder in
the slaying of his friend, Odin Lloyd.
Several members of Lloyd's family attended Hernandez' arraignment at Attleboro District Court where he was charged with multiple firearms offenses as well as murder.
The New England Patriots released Hernandez following his arrest earlier in the day at his home in North Attleborough. Hernandez was handcuffed when Massachusetts State Police led him away about 8:45 a.m. EDT.
The Patriots had previously refused to comment regarding Hernandez, 23, but issued a statement within hours of his arrest.
"The New England Patriots have announced the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide," a release posted on the team's website said.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss.
"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."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement released to NFL Network the "involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling."
The league said it extended its "deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Hernandez had been part of the investigation into the death of Lloyd, 27, a semipro football player whose body was found June 17 near Hernandez's home.
WFXT, Boston, reported last week residents near the Hernandez house said they heard gunshots about 3 a.m. June 17.
ABC News, citing law enforcement sources, said there is mounting evidence Hernandez and Lloyd had visited several nightclubs together before Lloyd was killed, and Lloyd had been driving a sport utility vehicle rented in Hernandez' name.
An investigator close to the case said Hernandez was found to have destroyed his home security system, including video surveillance equipment, ABC News reported.
Hernandez was a fourth-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He had 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011 when he was selected for the Pro Bowl. Injuries limited his play to 10 games last season when he caught 51 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns.
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