Before arrest, Hernandez had brushes with violence

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm •  Published: July 2, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — When Aaron Hernandez first went before a judge to face a murder charge, a defense attorney said the former New England Patriots tight end had never been accused of a violent crime. But Hernandez is apparently no stranger to violence.

Since he was arrested last week in the shooting death of a friend whose body was found a mile away from his home, a portrait has emerged of a man whose life away from the field included frequent connections with police-related incidents that started as long ago as his freshman year at the University of Florida.

An acquaintance who sued Hernandez, claiming he was shot after a fight in a strip club earlier this year. A 2007 bar fight that left a restaurant worker with a burst ear drum. An unsolved double murder at a Boston nightclub last summer. All violent incidents, all with possible ties to the once-dominating athlete who now sits in a private cell for his own protection.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, whose body was found June 17 not far from Hernandez's North Attleborough, Mass. mansion. His defense team has called the case circumstantial and has said Hernandez looks forward to clearing his name.

But even before the 23-year-old's recent arrest, public records and interviews show he had been involved in police inquiries in the past, first in Florida and then in the Boston area.

A sworn court complaint from Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit details Hernandez's apparent involvement in an April 2007 fight at a restaurant called The Swamp in Gainesville, Fla. The partially redacted document says the restaurant worker told police that Hernandez, who was then 17, punched him in the head while he was escorting the subject out of the business after a dispute about an alleged non-payment of a bill.

Tim Tebow, now a member of Patriots and at the time Florida's star quarterback, is listed as a witness. The report said Hernandez asked him to intervene in the verbal dispute before the assault.

The complaint classifies the offense as "felony battery." It wasn't clear Tuesday how the case was resolved.

Also in 2007, Hernandez was among three Florida football players and another who had gone on to the NFL questioned by Gainesville police after a double shooting that happened after a Florida loss. Police said the players provided the information investigators wanted. No charges were ever filed.

A request for comment left with a spokesman for Hernandez's legal team Tuesday evening was not immediately returned.

Although Hernandez is facing a murder charge, his current legal troubles may not end there.

Police in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., said Tuesday that Boston police asked for their help with a double homicide investigation linked to the former NFL star.

Bristol Police Lt. Kevin Morrell said the request was based on evidence developed through the investigation of Lloyd's slaying. He said police were asked to search the same home in Bristol for both investigations, and they seized a vehicle at the address Friday.



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