Ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez just took the witness stand for the first time in his high-profile murder case ... and told the court he's not mentally ill.
During the hearing, the judge peppered Hernandez with a barrage of questions about his overall health and mental state. Hernandez -- who was pretty composed on the stand -- insisted he's A-OK.
Hernandez has pled not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.
If convicted ... Hernandez faces life in prison. When asked if he understood the gravity of the situation, Hernandez told the judge he got it.
Pleads Not Guilty To Murder
9/6/2013 11:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
11:13 AM PT -- Hernandez just pled not guilty to all the charges. A pretrial date has been set for October 9th.
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned this morning on charges he murdered 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He's expected to plead not guilty ... and we're streaming live inside the courtroom.
As we reported, Hernandez has long insisted he's innocent.
23-year-old Hernandez was formally indicted last month, when he was hit with a laundry list of criminal charges, including 1st degree murder, carrying a firearm, possession of a firearm, possession of a high-capacity firearm or feeding device, and 2 counts of possession of ammunition.
Indicted on Murder Charge
8/22/2013 10:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
11:03 AM PT -- The prosecutor just announced the indictment returned against Hernandez on multiple charges, including murder, carrying a firearm, possession of a firearm, possession of a high-capacity firearm or feeding device, and 2 counts of possession of ammunition.
As he sat down, Hernandez mouthed the words "I love you" to family members in court.
Another hearing has been set for next Friday.
NFL star Aaron Hernandez has just been indicted on a 1st degree murder charge in the death of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd -- and he's due in court any moment to face his stark new reality.
Hernandez was originally expected in court today for a probable cause hearing -- where prosecutors would have presented evidence that a) a crime was committed, and b) that Hernandez committed the crime.
But a grand jury has already returned an indictment, meaning prosecutors won't have to present additional evidence to justify a trial.
Translation: the probable cause hearing is now pretty much a formality ... but we may still hear from Hernandez' lawyer.
'The League' Star
I'd Kill For An
Aaron Hernandez Cameo
8/7/2013 12:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Are you an ex-NFL player? Do you also like to murder people (allegedly)? Then you'd make the PERFECT guest star on "The League" ... so says Paul Scheer, who plays Andre on the show.
It's sorta become a badge of honor for NFL stars (past and present) to score a cameo on the FX series ... just ask Terrell Suggs, Adrian Peterson, Chad Johnson, Deion Sanders, Maurice Jones-Drew and J.J. Watt.
Scheer says the next guy he wants to bring on board is Aaron Hernandez -- but not to act -- he's got a job in mind that requires AH's unique alleged skill set.
Check out the clip.
Jail Letter #2
I'm Going Nuts Without Internet LOL
8/4/2013 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Aaron Hernandez is jonesin' for the Internet ... according to a new letter he wrote to a fan.
TMZ has obtained a second letter Hernandez recently wrote behind bars, thanking a fan for a Facebook support page she started ... a page he can't read because jail is an Internet-free zone.
He wrote, "Thanks for the site and sry [sic] I can't check site [sic] there is no internet in jail lol."
Correct ... Hernandez wrote out the word "lol" in pen.
Also, FYI, Hernandez is now aware that his jail letters are making headlines. We spoke to the sheriff at the jail who tells us, Hernandez has been warned to be careful with his letters because TMZ keeps publishing them.
God Put Me In Jail
8/1/2013 2:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Aaron Hernandez wrote a pen pal a letter from inside his jail cell, declaring his innocence, saying his murder charges are God's plan, and vowing to return to the NFL ... and TMZ has a copy.
We have verified with law enforcement the letter is the real deal. You can read it yourself ... among the highlights:
-- "The world just makes things out of false accusations ... and it will all die down, especially when they say NOT GUILTY"
-- "All the people who turned on me will feel like crap."
-- "God put me in this situation for a reason."
-- "Can't wait to sign [autographs] again when I'm playing again an [sic] prove all the haters WRONG."
As for the fan who received the letter, Karl ... he just called in to "TMZ Live" and told us he wrote Hernandez first.
Karl says he sent the letter because he was in the same jail 15 years ago, and wanted to reach out to Hernandez to give him some encouragement.
Karl also says he would like to visit Aaron in jail -- if Aaron will let him.
FYI, Hernandez -- who's been accused of murdering semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd -- has been denied bail and will remain behind bars until his trial.
Back in Court
7/24/2013 9:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
11:37 AM PT -- Aaron's attorney is objecting to the additional release of information regarding the case to the media, saying it's having a negative impact on Aaron's right to a fair trial. The judge wasn't convinced.
11:30 AM PT -- During the beginning of the hearing, Aaron looked at his family in court and mouthed the words "I love you." The parents of Aaron's alleged victim Odin Lloyd were also present in court. It got emotional.
11:11 AM PT -- Prosecutors have requested a continuance, asking for more time to present evidence to a grand jury. Aaron's lawyer objected, asking for the case to be dismissed because prosecutors were dragging their feet, but the judge sided with the prosecution. Aaron is due back in court for another probable cause hearing on August 22.
11:05 AM PT -- Aaron is in the courtroom, but he's not wearing a jumpsuit this time ... he's in a normal suit. No tie though!
NFL star and murder suspect Aaron Hernandez is due back in court today ... the first step before he faces a grand jury on charges he murdered 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
It's called a probable cause hearing, which is where prosecutors are supposed to establish two things: 1) that a crime has been committed, and 2) that Hernandez committed the crime.
The probable cause hearing is meant to give prosecutors a chance to show that there's enough evidence to bring the case before a grand jury for a formal indictment, at which point a pretrial date will be set.
As we reported, Hernandez has been denied bail and will remain behind bars until he's acquitted ... or the case is dismissed.
It's possible prosecutors will file for a continuance today -- meaning they won't have to present all their evidence in court ... and they'll go straight to the grand jury stage. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11AM PST/2PM EST.
Will Stay in Solitary
'It's In His Best Interest'
7/12/2013 8:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Aaron Hernandez will NOT be moved out of solitary confinement at the Bristol County Jail ... after officials decided it would be in his "best interest" to remain isolated from the general population, TMZ has learned.
As we previously reported, the alleged murderer was placed in solitary right after he was booked -- fearing violent inmates might view the former NFL star as a "prize." But officials vowed to review Aaron's situation and would consider moving him if they felt it was safe.
But officials met yesterday and a rep for the jail tells TMZ ... after serious discussion, they decided NOT to move Hernandez, believing it would be in his "best interest" to stay. The insinuation -- he's still in danger.
The jail rep says the ex-NFL star is "doing well" behind bars ... and hasn't had any problems so far.
As far as visitors go -- "He has been getting visitors but we do not give out who is visiting him ... but people do come regularly."
Witness Says Hernandez
ADMITTED Shooting Lloyd
7/9/2013 3:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez CONFESSED that he fired the shots that killed Odin Lloyd ... this according to a police document that cites a witness ... who cites another witness.
OK, so it's a confession that's 3 degrees removed from Aaron Hernandez ... but cops in Miramar, Florida believed the tip was good enough to bring to a judge in an effort to get a search warrant connected with the investigation.
First, some background -- prosecutors in the murder case believe Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace were with Hernandez when Lloyd was murdered. Both Ortiz and Wallace are currently in custody.
Now, according to documents filed by the Miramar Police Dept., Ortiz told investigators ... that Wallace, told him ... that Hernandez told him that he shot Lloyd.
You follow that?
It's double hearsay, to say the least ... but with life sentences on the line, it might not be the last time these guys (allegedly) point the finger at each other.
For his part, Hernandez insists he's not guilty.
Jersey Exchange Program
7/6/2013 8:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Hundreds of New England Patriots fans lined up outside the Patriots Pro Shop today to exchange their Aaron Hernandez jerseys, and one thing was clear ... they wanted NO part of the accused murderer.
According to ESPN's Adam Shefter, more than 500 Hernandez jerseys were returned by 11:00 AM ET, which was just 90 minutes after the program opened.
TMZ spoke with a few people who waited in line to turn in their jerseys ... a few of whom had bought the jerseys for their kids and wanted to exchange the AH ones for players who were "a better role model."
As for the idea that Hernandez jerseys are big sellers on eBay, as one Pats fan put it ... "that's bad karma."
Shooting Victim Ordered to Appear Before Grand Jury
7/5/2013 10:21 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The man who claims Aaron Hernandez shot him in the face earlier this year has been ordered by a judge in Massachusetts to appear before a grand jury later this month.
Alexander Bradley was ordered by Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander to appear July 17. Bradley had been fighting the interstate subpoena, claiming he required medical treatment in Florida.
As TMZ first reported, Bradley sued Hernandez last month, claiming Hernandez shot him in the face following an altercation at a Miami strip club.
Hernandez is currently facing a murder charge in the shooting of Odin Lloyd.
Kicked Out of Bar After
7/2/2013 11:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Aaron Hernandez downed a ton of hard liquor, cussed out security guards ... and refused to leave when they confronted him ... in a Hermosa Beach, CA sports bar.
According to sources who were in Chelsea Pub & Lounge on April 19th ... the then New England Patriots star was drinking double Patron Silver shots all night in between glasses of Adios Motherf**kers -- a wonderful vodka, rum, tequila, and gin concoction.
We're told Hernandez repeatedly tried to walk outside the bar WITH his drink, and didn't understand why security wouldn't let him -- and began yelling and cursing at the bar staff.
When asked to leave ... Hernandez simply sat down (pictured above) and told security he wasn't leaving.
However, once multiple security guards surrounded him ... he paid off his hefty bar tab and left peacefully.
For His Own Safety
7/1/2013 2:10 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Aaron Hernandez has been moved into solitary confinement ... away from the general population ... because officials believe he could be a prize for blood-thirsty, fame-hungry inmates, TMZ has learned.
TMZ spoke with Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson who tells us ... Aaron has been moved from the medical ward at Bristol County Jail to a "Class 2 Unit" -- where he is isolated from the general population.
Hodgson explains, "The reason for this move is simply to protect him. We wouldn't want some inmate trying to get any notoriety by attempting to harm Aaron Hernandez."
In his Class 2 unit, Hernandez is allowed 3 hours outside of his cell per day. Hodgson says, "He can have access to the phone, yard for fresh air, and the common room."
Hodgson says there are no TVs inside the common room or inside Aaron's cell.
We're told Aaron will stay in this unit for at least a week -- and then officials reevaluate the situation and decide if they want to move him to a different unit.
As for visitors, officials tell us Aaron can choose five people to put on a visitor list.
Hodgson adds, "Having just met with him earlier again after his evaluation, and for a man who has gone from 7,000-square-feet to a 10x7 cell, he is doing very well and seems to be taking the situation great. He is very respectful and calm. Also to this point he has had no special requests."