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Aaron Hernandez indicted on first-degree murder charge

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Hernandez won't get the chance to argue in his defense until his criminal trial. (USATSI)
Hernandez won't get the chance to argue in his defense until his criminal trial. (USATSI)

Former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez had been scheduled for a probable cause hearing that would have allowed his lawyers to argue that he should be released from his solitary jail cell. Instead, with the indictment, Hernandez won't be allowed to dispute the prosecution until his criminal trial.

Hernandez had a short court appearance in Attleboro on Thursday afternoon. His attorney said the defense was pleased to be heading to a jury trial.

"There has been an incredible rush to judgment in this case," and the state doesn't have enough evidence to prove the charges, said attorney Michael Fee to the AP.

Hernandez appeared in court last month when a judge granted the prosecution a 30-day continuance. His lawyers loudly objected to the prosecution's request, and one reason they wanted the continuance was so the grand jury could have more time to look through the evidence and possibly indict him.

The grand jury also has indicted Hernandez on five weapons charges.

The grand jury also reportedly is investigating Hernandez's role in the deaths of two men in 2012, though he hasn't officially been charged in that case.

The grand jury also found reason to indict Hernandez's associate, Ernest Wallace, on a first-degree murder charge (after the fact) in the Lloyd killing. Currently, Carlos Ortiz -- the other man being held in this case -- has not been indicted.

If convicted, Hernandez could face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"We'll be here in another month," defense attorney Charles Rankin said at the last hearing, "and we'll be ready to go forward on Aug. 22, and at that time we're confident Aaron will be exonerated."

Instead, Hernandez's lawyers will now have to wait until Hernandez's trial to make their case.

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