A Grand Jury Indicted Aaron Hernandez with Murdering Odin Lloyd

The judge can now think about scheduling a trial.

Image Credit: Associated Press

Image Credit: Associated Press

Thursday came the fairly unsurprising news that a grand jury indicted Aaron Hernandez for the murder of Odin Lloyd, meaning that a judge will not have to rule on whether there’s probable cause for a murder trial and can now turn toward scheduling an actual date. (Don’t get excited. It’ll probably be awhile yet.)

The grand jury also indicted Hernandez’s associate Ernest Wallace for accessory after the fact of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say Hernandez, Wallace, and a third man, Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd from his Dorchester house, then drove him to an industrial park in North Attleborough near Hernandez’s residence, where Hernandez shot Lloyd to death. Ortiz wasn’t indicted today, which could suggest he’s been more cooperative with prosecutors than Wallace.

Grand juries operate in secret, and they famously defer to prosecutors, meaning its much easier for the government to obtain an indictment than to get a guilty verdict. Nevertheless, prosecutors have presented some of their evidence at past hearings, which include text messages Hernandez and Lloyd sent the night of Lloyd’s death, as well as security footage showing a car entering and exiting the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was found, and Hernandez’s own home security footage showing him with a gun in his hand the night of the murder.

Hernandez appeared for a 10 minute court proceeding Thursday in a suit jacket as prosecutors delivered the judge news of the indictment and defense argued for a renewed gag order on attorneys. His legal team complained the media coverage is tainting Hernandez’s right to a fair trial by an unbiased jury. Look for them to start pushing back on the rush to judgement in the months before a trial. And hey, they’ve already got one prolific and prominent letter writer putting out some sympathetic press for them these days.