BRISTOL, Conn. (CBS Connecticut/AP) - Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, charged with first-degree murder for what prosecutors say was the execution-style killing of a friend near his house, was denied bail on Thursday.
Hernandez’s lawyer argued that his celebrity status means even if he wanted to flee he couldn’t and that the case against him is circumstantial.
“He wants to clear his name,” lawyer James Sultan told the judge.
But Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley called the evidence in the June 17 slaying of Odin Lloyd overwhelming and said police had made discoveries Wednesday when they searched a condo Hernandez leased and a Hummer registered to him that was parked there.
A jogger found Lloyd’s body in a remote area of an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough 11 days ago. Lloyd was a semi-pro football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Prosecutors said Hernandez orchestrated the killing because Lloyd talked to the wrong people at a nightclub. Hernandez, a 2011 Pro Bowl selection who signed a five-year contract with the Patriots worth $40 million, could face life in prison if convicted.
The murder case against former NFL player has led investigators to his hometown of Bristol, Conn., the working-class Hartford suburb where he began a meteoric rise that would carry him to the upper echelons of the NFL. He is remembered as a fun-loving teenager at Bristol Central High School, where he followed in the footsteps of his older brother, D.J., who would star as a quarterback and tight end at the University of Connecticut.
His criminal trial may be in its beginning stages, and Hernadez’s friends from long ago may remember him fondly, but the court of public opinion has already issued its verdict. Many have even gone online to make fun of Hernandez as his legal situation worsens by taking part in a new Internet sensation referred to as “Hernandezing.”
Two photographs of Hernandez – one in which he took a photograph of himself while holding a gun, and the other showing him being taken into police custody with his cuffed arms under his shirt – inspired users of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to recreate the images.
In a collection of the photographs compiled by BuzzFeed, people are seen emulating elements of the photos while adding their own twists.
In images meant to mock Hernandez’s self-taken photo, people are shown holding toy guns or spray bottles of cleaning fluids. Those replicating the latter photo show people – or in the case of one photograph, a young girl – imitating Hernandez’s cuffed arms under his white t-shirt on the day of his arrest.
The vast majority of the images are accompanied by the hashtag “Hernandezing.”
This is hardly new territory for social media users. Before Hernandezing, “Tebowing” was the big craze in sports-centric photo memes. Those partaking in Tebowing document themselves kneeling in an imitation of Tim Tebow’s prayer stance before games during his time as the Denver Broncos’ quarterback.
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