Massachusetts state police officers and dogs searched the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez again Saturday as they continue to investigate the killing of a semi-pro football player whose body was found about a mile away.
The search of Hernandez’s sprawling home and vehicle in North Attleboro began in the afternoon and lasted for more than three hours. Locksmiths and several officers were involved, including one with a crowbar.
Detectives and uniformed officers who searched the home, its backyard and playhouse did not comment to reporters on what they were looking for or what caused them to return to the house located not far from where the Patriots practice and about a mile from where a jogger found the body of Odin Lloyd on Monday.
Lloyd family members said Friday that 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 spokeswoman for the Bristol District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the investigation Saturday. A state police spokesman referred questions to the district attorney’s office.
An attorney for Hernandez has 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’re not public. No arrest warrants were filed in state courts by the time court closed Friday, Attleboro District Court clerk magistrate Mark E. Sturdy said. Courts were closed Saturday.
Police previously searched in and around the home as they try to figure out who killed Lloyd.
Police in nearby Providence, R.I., said they had assisted Massachusetts state police and North Attleborough police with activity related to the Hernandez investigation at a strip club named Club Desire. It was unclear if they believed Lloyd and Hernandez might have been at the club in the days before Lloyd died.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James has 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. He missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April but is expected to be ready for training camp. Last summer, the Patriots gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.
COMMISSIONER WATCHING CASE
Goodell is doing what any commissioner or president of a sports league would when one of his players is being investigated in a criminal case.
He’s waiting for the legal process to take its course in the Hernandez case.
Hernandez also was sued Wednesday in Florida by a man claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February.
As he has done in recent cases, be they high profile - Michael Vick and his dogfighting, for example - or less publicized, Goodell is sitting tight. Innocent before proven guilty.
Should Hernandez be arrested - no charges have been brought in either case - Goodell could punish him under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. But he generally prefers to await the outcome of all legal proceedings.
When Vick admitted to financing a dogfighting operation, Goodell suspended him indefinitely in August 2007. Vick served 18 months in a federal penitentiary, and was reinstated in 2009 when Goodell said the quarterback had shown remorse for his actions.
Vick has stayed out of trouble since and has played for the Philadelphia Eagles the last four years.
Goodell suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones for the 2007 season under the personal conduct policy after Jones was arrested multiple times. A 2005 first-round draft pick by the Titans who now is with Cincinnati, Jones has been in and out of legal trouble, with at least seven arrests over the years and involvement in about a dozen incidents that included police intervention.
He recently pleaded not guilty to an assault charge after police say he hit a woman at a nightclub. If he is found guilty or accepts a plea bargain, he would be subject to another NFL suspension, perhaps an indefinite one.
“We must protect the integrity of the NFL,” Goodell has said. “The highest standards of conduct must be met by everyone in the NFL because it is a privilege to represent the NFL, not a right. These players, and all members of our league, have to make the right choices and decisions in their conduct on a consistent basis.”
Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was suspended indefinitely by the NFL before the 2010 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Two years earlier, in April 2008, he’d been arrested outside a club in his hometown of Houston for possession of codeine, a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty and was given probation, with the understanding that another misstep would mean significant jail time.
He was arrested again in October 2010, and went to jail for violating probation. Goodell suspended him indefinitely and he has missed the last three NFL seasons, but attended Green Bay’s minicamp earlier this month after being reinstated in March.
PUTIN COULD MAKE RETRIBUTION FOR RING
Facing what he drolly called a “complicated international problem,” Vladimir Putin says he’s ready to give the New England Patriots’ owner custom jewelry to compensate for the Super Bowl ring that some imply the Russian president pocketed.
The Super Bowl ring changed hands in 2005 when Robert Kraft was visiting Putin with a business delegation. At the time, he said he gave it as a gift, but last week he was quoted by the New York Post as saying Putin just took it.
Putin said at an economic forum Friday he didn’t remember Kraft or the ring. But “if it is so valuable to him,” Putin would order a piece of jewelry of precious metal and stones be made for Kraft.
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