Aaron Hernandez pleads not guilty to murder and weapons charges in Fall River courthouse

FALL RIVER — Aaron Hernandez, wearing his now-familiar blue blazer and collared shirt with no tie, answered “not guilty’’ today six times in a firm voice as he was arraigned on first-degree murder and weapons charges in Bristol County Superior Court.

In an unexpected move, both Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter and the defense team for the former New England Patriots star tight end agreed that Hernandez will remain held without bail. The defense said they may ask for bail at a later date.

The agreement between the two sides put a halt to any further disclosure of the evidence that prosecutors say implicates the Bristol, Conn., native in the June 17 murder of Odin L. Lloyd in a North Attleborough industrial park.


The hearing lasted about 15 minutes and ended with both sides agreeing to abide by existing court rules limiting what they can say publicly about the case and with agreements on how to preserve evidence collected by law enforcement in Connecticut and Florida.

Speaking briefly to throng of reporters after the hearing, Charles Rankin, a member of the defense team, expressed confidence in his client’s innocence.

“We’re confident that at the end of the trial Aaron will be exonerated,’’ Rankin said, adding that the public should ignore media accounts that rely on unnamed sources for their information.“They’re not reliable.’’

Sutter, who was equally brief in comments to reporters and who refused to discuss the search for the still-missing murder weapon, said he hoped Hernandez’s trial would be held in 2014.

He also said he would oppose any effort to release Hernandez on bail while he awaits trial. “We want to see him remain in custody,’’ Sutter said.

In prior court proceedings, Sutter’s office has alleged that the 24-year-old Hernandez grew distrustful of Lloyd and summoned two friends from his childhood home to Massachusetts.

According to prosecutors, Hernandez and the two men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, collected Lloyd from his Dorchester home and drove together to the industrial park, where Lloyd was shot five times with a .45-caliber pistol.


Wallace, 41, is under indictment for acting as an accessory after the fact to Lloyd’s killing, a charge he has denied in earlier court proceedings. Ortiz currently only faces gun possession charges and has been cited in court records as providing prosecutors with a description of Lloyd’s killing.

Lloyd’s relatives, including his mother, were in the courtroom as they have been each time Hernandez has appeared in a courtroom since his arrest June 26.

Hernandez’s mother was also in the courtroom, the first time she has been seen publicly supporting her son since he became a suspect in Lloyd’s murder shortly after the body of the Dorchester man was discovered on the day he was killed.

Also on hand were two men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Free AH 81’’ and a woman wearing a now discontinued Hernandez Patriots jersey with the number 81 on it. And a woman from Georgia who appeared in a homemade Hernandez jersey.

“It felt like somebody needed to support him,’’ said Danielle Kelley, 37, of Savannah. She said she had launched social media accounts in support of Hernandez after he was arrested. “I don’t think he’s guilty of killing anybody.’’

Kelley said she planned to attend Hernandez’s trial.

The judge set Hernandez’s next court date for Oct. 9.

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