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Report: Prosecutors believe Hernandez’s fiancee tried to hide evidence

Jenkins AP

Operation Put the Screws to Shayanna Jenkins apparently has commenced.

The fiancee of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, Jenkins initially was talking to police in the aftermath of Odin Lloyd’s murder — until Hernandez gave her the same advice Archie Bunker routinely provided to Edith.

Now, Jenny Wilson of the Hartford Courant reports that prosecutors believe Jenkins engaged in “overt attempts to hide evidence . . . and to hinder and mislead” the investigation.  The contention, which appear in court documents released Friday, was made in connection with a request to search a storage unit rented in her name.

The records allege that Hernandez called Jenkins the day after Lloyd’s body was found because Hernandez wanted to get rid of the weapons in the home he and Jenkins share.  The materials also reportedly explain that surveillance footage from Hernandez’s home shows Jenkins leaving the house with a trash bag containing a “rigid object” resembling a lock box or safe.  According to the records, authorities contend she then placed the bag in the trunk of a car, drove away, returned 35 minutes later, and opened the trunk — which no longer contained the bag or the “rigid object.”  (There’s a chance she’s an amateur magician, and opening the truck was simply the prestige.)

The paperwork likewise refers to “cryptic texts” exchanged by Hernandez and Jenkins regarding a box in the basement.

These allegations seem to mesh with Carlos Ortiz’s alleged explanation that Hernandez placed two guns in a black box after Lloyd was shot.

It all adds up to significant leverage against Jenkins, who may eventually have to choose between facing obstruction of justice charges or cooperating with police regarding anything and everything she knows about Lloyd’s murder.

“It would be premature at this time for us to comment or speculate on whether more charges will be filed in this case,” prosecutors said Friday, via the Courant.  “We are letting the evidence guide us before making our decision.”

The evidence seems to be guiding them toward pursuing charges against Jenkins.

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Hernandez’s cousin jailed for refusal to testify

New England Patriots tight end Hernandez is led out of the North Attleborough police station after being arrested Reuters

Yes, football is back.  But the biggest NFL trial since the double-murder case against Ray Lewis is looming.

Before former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez can stand trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, Hernandez must be indicted.  Before he can be indicted, a grand jury must conclude that probable cause exists to believe he committed the crime.

That process entails a parade of witnesses who will help provide a tapestry of evidence that will make an indictment a no-brainer.  As long as those witnesses are willing to testify.

One of them — Hernadnez’s coustin, Tanya Cummings-Singelton — has been jailed for contempt of court.  According to the Hartford Courant, Cummings-Singleton refused to testify before the grand jury.  She has been held behind bars since August 1.

Prosecutors believe Cummings-Singleton purchased a bus ticket for Ernest Wallace, who is charged with being an accessory after the fact.  Carloz Ortiz reportedly told police that he discussed the murder of Lloyd with Cummings-Singleton.

Her husband, Thaddeus Singleton, died in a car accident in late June.  She previously was married to Hernandez’s stepfather, Jeff Cummings.

Apart from her indefinite incarceration for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury, Cummings-Singleton becomes an even bigger target for potential prosecution under theories like obstruction of justice.  The phone, for example, that Wallace allegedly used to communicate with Hernandez and Lloyd was registered to Cummings-Singleton.  It has not been located by authorities.

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Search for gun may continue in a different lake

Divers AP

Last week, Connecticut police spent several days in the muck and the mire of a Bristol, Connecticut lake that was believed to be holding in its bed the gun used to kill Odin Lloyd in June.

According to CNN, divers didn’t locate the gun in Pine Lake a/k/a Malone’s Pond in a search that started July 29 and continued this week.

Per the report, investigators will return to the area next week to search a smaller body of water near Pine Lake.

Someone, possibly Carlos Ortiz, presumably told police that the gun was thrown in a body of water in Bristol, Connecticut.  The murder happened in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, less than a mile from the home of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Hernandez remains held without bail, awaiting an August 22 probable cause hearing.  He could be indicted for murder at any time.

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Hernandez’s uncle killed in moped accident

Hernandez AP

Cue The Twilight Zone music.

Last month, a member of Aaron Hernandez’s family living in Bristol, Connecticut died in an automobile accident.  On Saturday, it happened again.

According to the Hartford Courant, Hernandez’s uncle died in a moped accident.

Robert J. Valentine, 49, was driving a moped that struck a curb, throwing him to the ground.  Valentine, the brother of Hernandez’s mother, was not wearing a helmet.

There’s no indication that Valentine had any connection to or information about the murders for which Hernandez currently is being investigated.  Police reportedly wanted to speak with the other family member who died last month, Thaddeus Simon III.  Simon was the son-in-law of Andres Valderrama, the uncle of Aaron Hernandez’s whose home has been searched multiple times by police.

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Ortiz says Hernandez put guns in a box after Lloyd’s shooting

Ortiz AP

Police still don’t know where the gun used to kill Odin Lloyd is.  But they believe they know where it was.

Via the Associated Press, an affidavit released Friday by the Attleboro District Court alleges that Aaron Hernandez associate Carlos Ortiz informed police Hernandez put guns in a black box after Lloyd was shot.

Lloyd was shot with a .45 caliber Glock.  Other guns were present in the car and in Hernandez’s home on the night of the slaying.

Presumably, Ortiz at some point said more about the disposal of the guns.  The four-day search of a pond in Bristol, Connecticut (unsuccessful, so far) possibly was prompted by Ortiz telling the authorities the gun was thrown into it.

Other affidavits previously released indicate that Ortiz told police he was asleep in the car when Hernandez, Ernest Wallace, and Lloyd exited at an industrial park near Hernandez’s home.  Shots were fired, Hernandez and Wallace returned to the car, and Wallace later told Ortiz that Hernandez was the one who fired on Lloyd.

All affidavits were filed in support of the issuance of various search warrants.  The latest apparently was used to support seizure of a phone, credits cards, and bank cards from Tanya Singleton-Valderramma, a woman with whom Ortiz had been living.  Ortiz said he discussed the killing of Lloyd with her.

Ortiz, who faces only weapons charges, is being held without bail.  The affidavits show that Ortiz has cooperated extensively with police.  The biggest questions remaining are whether he’ll testify in court against Hernandez, whether his testimony will be viewed as credible, and whether Hernandez will be able to distance himself from any credibility issues related to the testimony, given that Hernandez summoned Ortiz from Connecticut to Massachusetts on the night of the murder.

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Hernandez jailhouse letter sold for $18,000

Hernandez Getty Images

The letter in which former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez professes his innocence resulted in a five-figure payday for the memorabilia store that sold it to TMZ.

According to the Boston Herald, the gossip site paid $18,000 for the letter to Sportsworld, Inc.

Store manager Brendan Brennan said that the handwriting was verified as Hernandnez’s.  Though it’s unclear how Sportsworld, Inc. obtained the letter that was sent to an ex-con named “Karl,” Brennan felt no obligation to comply with Hernandez’s request that the contents not be publicized.

“It wasn’t written to us, so we didn’t have to honor anything from that letter,” Brennan said.

The episode makes us wonder whether the letter to Hernandez that sparked the response was legitimate, or whether it was the equivalent of throwing a baited hook into Hernandez’s cell.

Either way, chances are Hernandez will be getting more letters from strangers.  And chances are he won’t be responding to them.

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Hernandez professes innocence in jailhouse letter

Hernandez Getty Images

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez already is behaving like everyone else in jail:  He’s claiming he didn’t do it.

In a letter written by Hernandez and sent to a fan who is corresponding with the fallen NFL star, Hernandez says he is “NOT GUILTY.”  (Not to be confused with “absolutely, 100 percent not guilty.”)

The letter, obtained by TMZ and verified as legitimate, was sent to a fan named “Karl” who wrote Hernandez first.

Here’s the full text of the response from Hernandez:

“Your letter meant alot and was very true!  I know everything happens for a reason and I know ‘God’ has a plan for me and something good will come out of this.  The world just makes things out of false accusations and it will all die down especially when they say NOT GUILTY and all the people who turned on me will feel like crap.  I’ve always been a great person an[d] known for having an amazing heart!  I am a strong person and nothing will break me!  A C.O. [correctional officer] will never nor can they say now for one day have I been down or not with a smile on my face.  I know there is a reason I’m going thru this and I will figure it out through my relationship with the Lord.  I fell off especially after making all that money but when its all said and done ‘God’ put me in the situation for a reason.  I’m humbled by this ALREADY and this will change me forever.  At least I’ll know my true supporters.  Thanks for being one of them!”

Hernandez then signs his name, with an 81, and adds: “Can’t wait to sign this again when I’m playing again an[d] prove all the haters and down talkers WRONG.”

At the bottom, Hernandez writes, “Keep this off social media PLEASE!”

In fairness to Karl, giving (selling?) the letter to TMZ doesn’t constitute putting the letter on social media.

The letter from Hernandez doesn’t contain any new revelations, nor does it attempt to provide an alternative explanation as to how a guy who was with Hernandez in the final minutes of his life ended up dead less than a mile from Hernandez’s house, if Hernandez if, as he puts it, “NOT GUILTY.”

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Police search Bristol pond for third day

Hernandez Police AP

Another day, another excursion into a Bristol, Connecticut lake that may contain the .45 caliber Glock used to kill Odin Lloyd.

Via WWLP-TV, the search continued on Wednesday.  It was the third straight day that Connecticut State Police divers examined the floor of the pond with metal detectors.

The search could take a while, given that the pond is one mile across.  On Monday, police reportedly searched an area the size of a football field.

Or, possibly, they could at any moment during the season hold the gun up like Bill Murray with a Baby Ruth.

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Search continues at Bristol pond

350x-2 AP

Several of you have asked whether divers searching a pond in Bristol, Connecticut for the gun used to kill Odin Lloyd found anything.

The fact that they’re back for a second day suggests they haven’t.  Unless they liked it and decided to return for a swim.

According to David Owens and Jenny Wilson of the Hartford Courant, the search resumed Tuesday morning of the “murky, algae-topped pond” located in Pine Lake Park.  Police spent seven hours Monday searching the body of water.

Per the report, investigators have information suggestion the .45 caliber Glock pistol could be at the bottom.

Pine Lake a/k/a Malone’s Pond is nearly a mile across.  Monday’s search, according to the Courant, covered an area no bigger than a football field.

It’s a short distance from the home of Aaron Hernandez’s uncle, which would make it an obvious place for the hiding of the gun used allegedly to kill Odin Lloyd a short distance from Hernandez’s home in Massachusetts.

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Police search Connecticut lake for Odin Lloyd murder weapon

Aaron Hernandez AP

Prosecutors believe they have images of Aaron Hernandez holding the gun used to kill Odin Lloyd.  They’re now trying once again to find the gun itself.

According to WFSB-TV, authorities are searching Pine Lake in Bristol, Connecticut for the .45 caliber handgun.

The development comes only days after authorities searched the Bristol, Connecticut home of Hernandez’s uncle for a second time.

Carlos Ortiz reportedly told police that he and Wallace returned to the uncle’s home the day after the murder.  Apparently, someone thinks that someone threw the gun into Pine Lake.

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Wallace’s lawyer won’t say whether Hernandez is paying the bill

Wallace AP

Lost (almost) in the full-blown return of football (practice) has been the Aaron Hernandez case.

On Friday, an alleged accessory after the fact to the murder of Odin Lloyd was back in court.  According to the Boston Globe, prosecutors described Ernest Wallace as the “right-hand man” of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Assistant District Attorney William McCauley also said that Hernandez supported Wallace financially before the murder, and that Hernandez continues to support Wallace since both have been arrested.

David Meier, who represents Wallace, declined comment as to whether Hernandez is paying Wallace’s legal bills.

Wallace’s bail also was set at $500,000, which unless Hernandez is willing to write a really big check likely means that Wallace will remain in jail.

Still, the disparity between Wallace, who is charged after the fact and yet able to leave jail if $500,000 bail is posted, and Carlos Ortiz, who faces only weapons charges but who continues to be held without bail, bolsters suspicions that Ortiz is being kept in jail for his own protection, and that he’ll be the star witness (warts and all) when it’s time to put Hernandez on trial for the killing of Odin Lloyd.

And possibly for the killing of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu.

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Maurkice Pouncey talks hat, says Mike couldn’t

Maurkice Pouncey AP

While his brother Mike has avoided the topic, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has again apologized for wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat.

Maurkice apologized on Twitter shortly after he was photographed wearing a hat supporting his former college teammate Aaron Hernandez, who is now charged with murder.

And upon reporting to Steelers camp, Maurkice said again he made a mistake in judgment.

“I understand it was a serious situation, and I apologize if I offended anyone,” he said, via Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m here to play football, and let’s move off from that.

I know I took a lot of heat for it, and I probably should have. I understand what happened. It’s pretty cool now, and I’ll let things blow away.”

So far, Dolphins center Mike hasn’t followed suit, but Maurkice indicated that might not have been his call.

“I talked to Mike, and his team handled this situation a lot different than [the Steelers] did,” Maurkice said. “I’m sure Mike wanted to apologize, but that’s how they handled it.”

The urge to say nothing at all is tempting, and the Patriots players who worked with Hernandez are taking that tack. But there’s a bit of an innocent bystander quality to being a Patriot who happened to work with an accused murderer.

The Pouncey brothers actively supported Hernandez. One of them realizes it was a mistake, and he’ll be able to move by virtue of taking responsibility.

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Prosecutors contend they have photos of Hernandez with murder weapon

Hernandez AP

Prosecutors don’t have the gun that killed Odin Lloyd.  But they think they have photos of it.

On Thursday, via multiple reports, documents that were released publicly include still frames from Hernandez’s video surveillance system, which prosecutors contend show Hernandez holding the murder weapon.

Per FOX 25 in Boston, the images were included in a 104-page affidavit that was “heavily redacted.”  During Hernandez’s initial court appearance last month, prosecutors mentioned that surveillance video included images of Hernandez holding a gun.

The gun that killed Lloyd, a .45-caliber handgun, has not been found.

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Florida removes Hernandez brick

Hernandez

A day after Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened the vault and then slammed the door regarding Aaron Hernandez, the folks at the University of Florida opened the earth and removed a brick with Hernandez’s name on it.

Yes, via multiple reports, those in Gainesville who may have helped bury some of the things Hernandez did while in town have dug up the thing that was supposed to bear his name into perpetuity.

It seems a little odd for the Gators to expunge a guy who officially did nothing wrong in Gainesville based on something he only allegedly did after leaving the school.  If O.J. Simpson’s bust still resides in the Hall of Fame, then Hernandez’s brick should still be parked in the ground in Gainesville.

Unless, of course, the move represents an implicit concession by the powers-that-be that Hernandez was a problem child at Florida, and that former coach Urban Meyer knew or should have known that Hernandez was unfit to be in the program and, in turn, to be remembered for his on-field accomplishments.

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Brady discusses Hernandez, won’t say when they last spoke

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (R) and Aaron Hernandez leave the field after and interception against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter in the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough Reuters

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady opened up about some of his thoughts on former teammate Aaron Hernandez today, but he wouldn’t say whether they have spoken since the news broke that Hernandez is a murder suspect.

Surrounded by a crowd of reporters at training camp, Brady was asked if Hernandez reached out to him in any way, or if he has tried to reach out to Hernandez. Brady replied that team spokesman Stacey James had told him not to get into anything like that.

“Stacey told me I can’t comment on any of that,” Brady said. “Stacey told me — it’s a good question, but I’m not supposed to comment on any of those things. . . . I’m really not supposed to comment on Aaron.”

Brady did, however, speak about Hernandez in general terms, and about his own reaction to learning that Hernandez would be charged with first-degree murder.

“I think everyone had a certain range of emotions, whatever they might have been. But those were very personal, and I dealt with them,” he said. “Certainly it’s a very tragic thing that happened, someone loses their life. But all those things were out of the players’ control here and we’re not really part of that situation so I don’t think it does a lot for us to get too much involved.”

Brady mostly reiterated what he previously said about wanting to move on: Brady said the whole team needs to avoid distractions.

“The fate of our season is going to be determined by the guys in the locker room and hopefully nothing else,” he said. “You talk about the Patriot Way, and to me that means mental toughness, it means dealing with different situations and adversities over the course of a season and offseason and how you can put those things behind you and focus on your job.”

Losing Hernandez will make Brady’s job harder, but he sounds eager to get his job started.

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