Skip to main content

Source: Aaron Hernandez's anger over two trivial incidents linked to killing

By Susan Candiotti and Laura Dolan, CNN
updated 3:45 PM EDT, Sat June 21, 2014
  • Source says Odin Lloyd was killed over trivial matters
  • Two incidents -- at nightclub and in his apartment -- had something to do with it, source says
  • Hernandez's anger was fueled by paranoia, source says

Susan Candiotti's documentary, "Downward Spiral: Inside the Case Against Aaron Hernandez," airs on CNN at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday.

(CNN) -- Why would former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez allegedly "orchestrate the execution" of Odin Lloyd, leaving him shot seven times and his body near a construction pile in an industrial park?

The motive was something trivial, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Investigators believe Hernandez' s simmering anger over two incidents at a nightclub and his apartment led him to allegedly kill Lloyd two nights later, CNN has learned.

Hernandez pleads not guilty to murders
Hernandez charged in 2012 double murder
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is led into the courtroom to be arraigned on homicide charges on Wednesday, May 28, in Boston. Hernandez pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He has also been charged in the 2013 death of semipro football player Odin Lloyd. Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is led into the courtroom to be arraigned on homicide charges on Wednesday, May 28, in Boston. Hernandez pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He has also been charged in the 2013 death of semipro football player Odin Lloyd.
Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez
Photos: Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez Photos: Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez "drove the victim to the remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution," Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley said last year.

One of the incidents involved Lloyd seeing guns and ammunition stored at Hernandez' so-called flop house, his apartment in Franklin, Massachusetts. The other thing that set off Hernandez was a conversation Lloyd had with two men at a club earlier that night, June 14, 2013, a source tells CNN.

The cumulative effect apparently reached a breaking point for reasons that most people would find inconsequential. The source would not say what that was, but compared it to something as insignificant as a spilled drink that allegedly led to the 2012 Boston double murder of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu, a separate case in which Hernandez also has pleaded not guilty.

Lloyd's killing did not involve possible knowledge of that double murder as investigators previously considered, the source added.

Who was Odin Lloyd?

Hernandez's anger was fueled by paranoia brought on, in part, by his alleged drug use including angel dust and marijuana, the source said.

The motive was hinted at in court this week, when new details emerged about the events at Rumor nightclub where Hernandez and some friends partied before moving to Hernandez' apartment about 10 miles from his home. Lloyd, a semi-pro football player and Hernandez were dating sisters.

Prosecutors say Hernandez appeared upset at the club. They describe him appearing agitated on security video. Witnesses describe him with his arms waving in the air and a parking valet saw the football player put a gun in his waistband when he got into his vehicle, according to authorities.

"An incident had occurred that caused him to arm himself," McCauley told a judge.

Hernandez' s lawyer told a judge that his client's friends said the incident at the club was not a problem.

When Hernandez and Lloyd left, they went to the tight end's apartment accompanied by two women to party, prosecutors say.

Whatever happened involving the guns and bullets at the apartment and earlier at the nightclub, Lloyd didn't think it was a big deal, according to friends who saw him the following two days leading up to his death. They said he only talked about having a good time with Hernandez.

"There's certainly a lot of what I would call smoke," defense attorney Jamie Sultan said in court. "There's no doubt about it ... But that's not probable cause that he committed murder. And you can't just throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and say that's good enough."

The fallen Patriot's alleged behavior, as described by investigators, appears to follow a bizarre pattern that has resulted in three murder charges, and a lawsuit accusing him of shooting a friend in the face and leaving him for dead.

In each case, authorities say, the violence was preceded by something perceived as disrespect or betrayal.

In July 2012, Hernandez is charged with fatally shooting two men in a car after one of them, a stranger, bumped into Hernandez on the dance floor at a night club, causing the athlete to spill his drink, according to Boston's district attorney. Hernandez felt he was being "tested," a friend is quoted as telling investigators, prompting Hernandez to follow the men out of the club and kill them in a drive by shooting.

That same friend identified in court papers as Alexander Bradley is now suing Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead in an industrial park in south Florida in February 2013. Prosecutors say Hernandez felt 'disrespected' by Bradley because he challenged him after the football player refused to return to a strip club to retrieve Bradley's cellphone.

In court, prosecutor McCauley said according to Bradley, trust was a big deal to Hernandez. "The more he got to know you ... the more suspicious he was," McCauley told the judge. "He was concerned (about) the things that you knew about him ... Odin Lloyd knew such things about the defendant."

Four months later, in June, 2013, Lloyd was picked up in a car said to be driven by Hernandez with two of his associates, taken to an industrial park, shot and killed, according to prosecutors. Those associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, are also charged with first-degree murder and like Hernandez, have pleaded not guilty.

His lawyers this week filed a motion asking a court to authorize a subpoena demanding Hernandez's work and medical records from the New England Patriots, including records that "may bear upon (Hernandez') mental state at the time ... of Lloyd's murder."

Legal experts say the motion indicates the defense may be leaning toward arguing Hernandez suffers from diminished capacity, a legal term for someone who is less responsible for committing a crime because it's harder for them to know the difference between right and wrong.

Prosecutors seeking tattoo artists who inked Aaron Hernandez

Prosecutors: Hernandez discussed killing in jailhouse calls

Patriots added to wrongful death suit against Hernandez

CNN's Michelle Rozsa contributed to this report

Part of complete coverage on
Aaron Hernandez
The career of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has taken a drastic turn for the worse.
updated 4:20 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
For Ursula Ward, visiting her son's gravesite has become a painful yet inescapable part of her daily routine.
How did Aaron Hernandez go from NFL star to accused murderer? It's a long story that dates back to his high school days.
updated 12:57 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Aaron Hernandez is behind bars, accused of murdering three people. Here is a primer on some of the names you might be hearing.
updated 8:02 AM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
A judge has ruled that prosecutors may not introduce the texts that murder victim Odin Lloyd sent his sister shortly before his death.
updated 11:22 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
Aaron Hernandez was destined to be a football superstar and was already one of the NFL's most promising tight ends.
updated 4:39 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
If prosecutors plan to argue Hernandez was the one who fired seven rounds into Odin Lloyd, they won't be able to show the alleged murder weapon to make their case.
updated 2:27 PM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
An accidental dance floor bump and a spilled drink agitated Aaron Hernandez before he allegedly shot and killed two men in Boston, an assistant district attorney said.
updated 3:54 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
An associate of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in connection with the 2013 homicide of Odin Lloyd in Massachusetts.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Are clues to alleged murders hidden in tattoos on the right forearm of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez?
updated 7:02 PM EDT, Thu May 15, 2014
Ex-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 killings of two men in Boston.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
The families of two men who were gunned down in Boston in 2012 have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Aaron Hernandez.
In the wake of the tragic events centering on a star NFL player being charged for murder, we are forced to ask ourselves just what this says about the game we all love.
updated 11:18 AM EST, Tue February 4, 2014
Aaron Hernandez used "coded messages" in jailhouse calls to discuss the killing of Odin Lloyd, Massachusetts prosecutors said in court papers.
updated 7:21 PM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Here is a look at the life of Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end charged with the murders of Odin Lloyd, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
CNN's Deborah Feyerick looks at the crime scene in the murder case against former NFL player Aaron Hernandez.
updated 3:02 PM EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
A search of an apartment leased by Aaron Hernandez recovered ammunition from the same caliber gun used to kill his friend.
updated 8:51 PM EDT, Fri June 28, 2013
Erin Burnett talks to Bleacher Reporter Dan Levy about the checkered past of fmr. Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
Odin Lloyd carved a reputation as a trophy-accumulating athlete who in school had a mischievous streak for jokes and pranks, relatives said.
updated 10:08 PM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
Get to know the Patriots' former tight end through our photo gallery.