Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Star's home scoured in murder probe

Police officers talk outside the home of New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez (AP/ESPN)

Police have searched the home of an American football star for the second time in the investigation into the killing of a semi-pro player whose body was found about a mile away.

Officers were at the home of New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, for more than three hours. Locksmiths and several officers were involved, including one with a crowbar.

Detectives and uniformed officers who searched the sprawling home, its back yard and playhouse did not comment to reporters on what they were looking for or what caused them to return to the house not far from where the Patriots practice and about a mile from where a jogger found the body of Odin Lloyd on Monday.

Lloyd's family said he had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee for about two years. They said the two men were friends who were together the night Lloyd died.

Authorities have ruled Lloyd's death a homicide. A lawyer for NFL star Hernandez said he would not comment on the searches.

Three search warrants were issued in the investigation earlier last week but have not been returned, meaning they are not public. No arrest warrants were filed in state courts by the time court closed on Friday, Attleboro District Court clerk Mark E Sturdy said.

Police previously searched in and around the home as they try to figure out who killed Lloyd.

Police in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, said they had assisted Massachusetts state police and North Attleboro police with activity related to the Hernandez investigation at a strip club named Club Desire. It was unclear if they believed Lloyd and Hernandez were at the club in the days before Lloyd died.

New England Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team does not anticipate commenting publicly during the police investigation. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was waiting for the legal process to take its course.

The Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010. Since then, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL. Last summer, the Patriots gave him a five-year contract worth 40 million dollars.