The seemingly mounting evidence against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez took a startling turn Tuesday. According to search warrant documents that were unsealed, one of Hernandez's associates, Carlos Ortiz, told investigators that another man, Ernest Wallace, said Hernandez admitted shooting semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
According to the document, filed in court by police in Miramar, Fla., where Wallace has a home, Ortiz explained to police that Hernandez picked up Lloyd, then headed toward his home in North Attleboro, Mass. Along the way, Hernandez told Lloyd that he had been "chilling" with people he had a problem with. (This is consistent with the details laid out by the prosecution when Hernandez was charged with murder.) Ortiz said the two men shook hands, but shortly thereafter the car stopped and everyone but Ortiz got out to urinate. Ortiz said he then heard gunshots. Hernandez and Wallace got back inside the car, Lloyd did not, and the vehicle sped away without him.
This potential bombshell came just hours after the release of eight search warrant documents, which describe Hernandez as "argumentative" when first questioned by police.
Documents released in Massachusetts Tuesday describe the scene when police officers showed up to Hernandez's home on June 17, the day after Lloyd was found shot to death. Investigators asked Hernandez about a vehicle he had rented. Hernandez told them he'd rented the car for Lloyd, whom he hadn't seen since Sunday. According to documents released Tuesday, Hernandez became argumentative, asking investigators, "What's with all the questions?" A few moments later, when investigators told the former Patriot they were there to conduct an investigation into a death, Hernandez responded by going inside his house, slamming the door and locking it.
According to police records, "Mr. Hernandez slammed the door and relocked it behind him." It continues, "Mr. Hernandez did not ask officers whose death was being investigated. Mr. Hernandez's demeanor did not indicate any concern for the death of any person."
Some 10 minutes later, Hernandez went back outside and informed investigators that he would follow officers to the police station.
The release of eight warrants totaling 156 pages reveals a police investigation into the shooting death of Lloyd that focused on cell phones, video surveillance inside Hernandez's home and multiple vehicles tied to the former New England Patriot.
How did police happen upon Hernandez so quickly? Because when they found Lloyd's body, they discovered in his pocket a set of keys to a Chevrolet Suburban rented by Hernandez.
According to the report, "Police having learned that the deceased Mr. Lloyd and the occupant of the house, Mr. Hernandez, were both connected to the then missing Chevrolet Suburban, these officers had concerns for the safety of Mr. Hernandez."
In a search of Hernandez's home, police found a box of "Game Loads" .22 bullets. Inside a safe, they discovered a scale and dish used to weigh drugs. From Hernandez's home in North Attleboro, police removed clothes, shoes, a wrist watch, an FEG Hungarian rifle and "1 gunshot residue kit from mattress."
Here are some key findings from the warrants and affidavits therein:
• Surveillance video taken from Hernandez's home shows him meeting two men in his driveway at 12:40 a.m. on the day Lloyd was killed. Video surveillance shows Hernandez entering his home, accompanied by Shayanna Jenkins, Ernest Wallace and a third male. Video shows Hernandez holding a gun as he walks inside, then switching it from hand to hand.
• Jenkins, Hernandez's fiancee, told police she and Hernandez had gone out to dinner for Father's Day. When they returned, she went to bed early, but that Hernandez had gone out. When asked by police who Hernandez had gone out with that night, Jenkins said she did not know. Jenkins cried when told by police that Lloyd had been killed.
• Hernandez rented a Nissan Altima. Massachusetts State Police claim tire tracks found near Lloyd's body were consistent with a Nissan Altima.
• The report states that "there appeared to be soil, similar in color and appearance to that at the location where Mr. Lloyd was found, on the tires and lower panels of the vehicle behind the tires. This soil was also seen within the tire tread(s) and wheel(s) well of the tires of the silver Nissan Altima."
• Jenkins described Lloyd as a marijuana dealer. Investigators spoke to two dozen individuals who knew Lloyd and not one described him as a drug dealer.
• Witnesses say they saw Hernandez and Lloyd together at Rumor, a Boston-area nightclub, on the Friday night before Lloyd was shot. They told police Hernandez had "what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband" at the club. Lloyd told Shaneah Jenkins, Lloyd's girlfriend and Shayanna Jenkins' sister, that the two got "drunk and slept outside the house."
The warrant further details the case prosecutors made when charging Hernandez with murder – that he texted Lloyd on Sunday night, asking him to hang out, that he texted Ernest Wallace to "hurry ur ass up," that he bought gas and bubble gum at a gas station, picked up Lloyd in the Nissan Altima, which was returned with a piece of bubble gum and what a rental agent believed was a bullet underneath a "colorful child's drawing" under the driver's seat. The rental agent said Hernandez offered her a piece of gum – the same kind found under the driver's seat. And the bullet found in a Dumpster turned out to be a spent .45 caliber cartridge casing ballistics testing determined was fired from the same gun as the spent casings found near Lloyd's body.
Details from the warrant continue:
• Lloyd's wounds were inflicted by .45 caliber bullets.
• Five spent casings were found near Lloyd's body. All five were fired from the same gun, which still has not been found.
• The police searched continued to Hernandez's "flop house" in Franklin, Mass., not far from his home in North Attleboro. There, police discovered a loaded .45 Glock and ammunition of different calibers. According to the warrant, Hernandez does not have a license to carry a firearm.
The warrant states that "investigators believe that Aaron Hernandez and two other male individuals were present at the location and time of the murder of Odin Lloyd." It does not state that Hernandez was or was not the shooter.