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Lawyer says Aaron Hernandez and Kyle Kennedy had close relationship in prison 04.26.17 at 2:18 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez's family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s family has possession of his three suicide notes. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

The attorney for Aaron Hernandez’s alleged prison friend affirmed Wednesday his client enjoyed a close relationship with the disgraced ex-NFL star.

At a press conference, Lawrence F. Army Jr. said Kevin Kennedy, the 22-year-old armed robber who Hernandez reportedly befriended at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, was the intended recipient of Hernandez’s third suicide note. State officials have confirmed the other two letters were written to Hernandez’s fiancee and four-year-old daughter. A judge ruled copies of the messages will be given to Hernandez’s family.

“My client has also relayed to me that he and Aaron Hernandez were close friends and spent a great deal of time together in prison,” Army said in his opening statement.

Army wouldn’t explain the nature of their relationship, saying Kennedy will address that himself at a later date. The Daily Mail reports Hernandez and Kennedy were seeing each other behind bars.

Kennedy, who’s currently on suicide watch, is believed to be the last person Hernandez saw before he hanged himself in his prison cell last week just before 3:00 a.m. Army said Hernandez told Kennedy he was thinking about ending his life three weeks ago. “I think I’m going to hang it up. LOL,” the note allegedly said.

Army also claims Hernandez gifted a $50,000 watch to Kennedy on his 22nd birthday. The whereabouts of the piece of jewelry is unknown.

Army said he’s requesting the note in question be released to his client. The content of the letter is apparently unclear, because it was written in code. But Army says it was meant for Kennedy, citing the closeness of their relationship and a prison source. Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, insists no such letter exists.

In an apparent effort to prove Kennedy’s friendship with Hernandez, Army read aloud one sentence from a letter the former Patriots tight end purportedly wrote to Kennedy’s father. “He’s my brother and always will be,” it said.

In September 2016, Hernandez and Kennedy asked to live with each other, Army said. But the request was denied.

“Aaron Hernandez was one of the most powerful forces as a person [Kennedy] has ever known,” Army said. “Aaron could took any situation, no matter how bad it seemed, and turn it into a positive.”

Kennedy was arrested in January 2015 for robbing a Cumberland Farms gas station in Northbridge. During the burglary, he was sporting a black mask and wielded a butcher knife. Police handcuffed him after a high-speed chase.

Kennedy is eligible to be released from prison March 1, 2018.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Residents hold vigil for Aaron Hernandez in Bristol, Connecticut; Brandon Spikes, Pouncey brothers attend funeral 04.25.17 at 9:41 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tampa Bay at Baltimore, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Houston, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Memphis at San Antonio, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Utah at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Residents of Aaron Hernandez’s Connecticut hometown held a candlelight vigil for the former NFL star, who committed suicide in prison last week. Approximately 200 people attended the vigil in Bristol on Monday night after Hernandez’s private funeral took place in the same town earlier that day. Members of the community gathered for the vigil in front of the football field where Hernandez played as a child.

“This is our way of being able to say our final goodbyes,” said Malique Ritchon, a cousin of Hernandez. “Anybody that may have went to school with him, played against him, played with him, even people that watched him play on the field.”

These members of the Bristol community knew Hernandez before his murderous activities and choose to remember him as the person he was while growing up in this town.

“The Aaron that I know was a good kid,” said Sara Vasquez, another family member. “He was my baby brother so I always saw him like a baby. He was a little, how can I say, Dennis the Menace. He would do his little jokes, but he was special.”

Hernandez’s funeral took place at the O’Brien Funeral Home in Bristol Monday afternoon.

Maurkice and Mike Pouncey were in attendance, along with Brandon Spikes and Andre Dixon. Also in attendance were Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the couple’s daughter, Hernandez’s mother, Terri, older brother, DJ, and family lawyer Jose Baez. Read the rest of this entry »

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Should Boston newspapers mention Aaron Hernandez sexuality story? 04.24.17 at 5:08 pm ET
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Neither major Boston daily newspaper has reported on the Aaron Hernandez sexuality story. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Neither major Boston daily newspaper has reported on the Aaron Hernandez sexuality story. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Information about the most lurid portion of the Aaron Hernandez saga can’t be found in the pages of the Boston Globe or Boston Herald. In order to read about it, one must head to New York, where it was plastered on the covers of both tabloids over the weekend.

On Kirk & Callahan last week, Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee first reported how Hernandez’s sexuality may tie into the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. Citing law enforcement sources, McPhee said Hernandez carried on an intimate relationship with a male high school classmate from Connecticut. Lloyd, who was engaged to the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, knew about the romance.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” she said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

On Friday, McPhee published a story in Newsweek outlining the theory. In it, she writes that one of the three notes Hernandez left in his cell before he hanged himself last week was addressed to his prison boyfriend. The Daily Mail also posted its own piece about the letter and identified the alleged lover.

The New York Daily News and New York Post both picked up on these reports. We’ve covered the story at WEEI, because it’s currently one of the hottest topics on our airwaves.

A judge ruled Monday the Hernandez family will receive copies of his suicide notes, so perhaps the truth about the prison letter will come out. In the meantime, it’s worth examining the legitimacy of the reports regarding his sexuality, and whether the Boston papers are right to ignore them.

Why is there doubt about sexuality reports?

It’s safe to say the Daily Mail doesn’t have a sterling reputation. The tawdry British tabloid recently paid Melania Trump almost $3 million in a libel settlement and was banned on Wikipedia as an “unreliable source.”

Typically, editors need more than the Daily Mail before they green-light stories. That’s where McPhee comes in. A former police bureau chief for the Daily News and Boston Herald, she’s plugged into law enforcement agencies across the region. But so far, she’s the only non-Daily Mail journalist who’s reported on this. A source tells me journalists at the Globe and Herald are digging into it, but haven’t come up with the same information. In an email, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca said the paper “doesn’t report rumors.” Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan declined comment.

There’s also the theory, perpetuated by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, that police officials are trying to smear Hernandez in order to distract from any possible investigations into his suicide attempt.

What’s believable about the sexuality angle?

Since McPhee is attaching her name to the story, it’s apparent Hernandez’s alleged bisexuality is being discussed in law enforcement circles as a potential motive for the Lloyd murder. In the Newsweek piece, McPhee says the disgraced ex-NFL star’s high school friend was even forced to testify in front of a grand jury.

She’s also been right about other aspects of the suicide. McPhee reported the tidbit on Wednesday about Hernandez writing “John 3:16″ on his forehead in red marker before he died. In a tweet Monday, she said the lawyer for Hernandez’s alleged partner in prison confirms there was a note in the cell addressed to his client.

Rumors about Hernandez’s sexuality have apparently circulated among police officials for a couple of years. Retired police sergeant Dic Donohue, who was injured in the Boston Marathon gun battle, tweeted Sunday he knew about it “for a while.”

There’s also the curious absence of information about the third suicide note. State officials confirmed last week Hernandez left three handwritten letters in his cell. The Globe and Herald both cite law enforcement sources who say Hernandez addressed two of those messages to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and four-year-old daughter, Avielle. McPhee and the Daily Mail have those details as well. Neither Boston paper, however, references the third letter in any story.

If the unidentified note contains sensitive information, such as a look into Hernandez’s sexuality, perhaps the state would hold off on revealing it. The alleged boyfriend is reportedly under suicide watch, which would likely further complicate matters.

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Report: Aaron Hernandez’s gay prison lover has been identified at 12:15 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez's sexuality was reportedly at the center of the investigation into the Odin Lloyd murder. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality was reportedly at the center of the investigation into Odin Lloyd’s murder. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez left three handwritten notes next to a bible in his prison cell before he hanged himself last week. The Daily Mail reports they were addressed to his fiancee, four-year-old daughter and gay prison lover. The identity of Hernandez’s alleged partner has now been revealed.

Citing sources, the Daily Mail says the disgraced ex-NFL star’s prison boyfriend was Kyle Kennedy, a 22-year-old Worcester native who’s serving time for armed robbery. According to the British tabloid, Hernandez gifted Kennedy a $50,000 watch and other property before he took his own life. Kennedy is reportedly under suicide watch.

Daily Mail reporters went to the Kennedy’s suburban home seeking comment, but his father chased them away.

The Milford Daily News covered Kennedy’s early morning robbery of a Cumberland Farms gas station in Northbridge when he was arrested in January 2015. During the burglary, Kennedy was sporting a black mask and wielded a butcher knife. Police handcuffed him after a high-speed chase.

Kennedy set up a profile on a website titled “Write Your Prisoner,” asking for pen pals so he can “possibly build friendships with people from around the world.” His hobbies include racing motocross and “doing anything that includes the outdoors.” His earliest release date is March 1, 2018.

On Kirk & Callahan last week, Boston-based investigate journalist Michele McPhee first reported Hernandez was in a relationship with a male high school classmate from Connecticut prior to the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. She says Lloyd’s alleged knowledge of the romance may have played a role in his murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” McPhee said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

A judge ruled Monday copies of the former Patriot tight end’s suicide notes will be given to his family. Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for the 2013 Odin Lloyd slaying, was recently acquitted on double-murder charges for a Boston shooting, five days before he was found dead in his prison cell last week.

Author’s note: this post was updated to include the news about Hernandez’s family receiving copies of his suicide notes. 

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Donte Stallworth believes Tom Brady and Donald Trump are still friends; Asking price for Aaron Hernandez mansion drops at 9:05 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: LA Dodgers at San Francisco, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Washington at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Golden State at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When Tom Brady skipped the Patriots’ trip to the White House last week, he said it was due to personal reasons. He posted a picture of his parents on Instagram for their anniversary and it is known his mother, Galynn, is battling cancer.

However, some speculated he missed the event because his wife, Gisele, is not a fan of Donald Trump and then that Trump was angry with Brady for not attending after Trump did not mention Brady during the ceremony. Donte Stallworth spoke with TMZ this weekend and said this is not the case and Brady did miss the trip to spend time with his mom.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t any other circumstance,” Stallworth said. ” … This is a very trying time for not just [Brady’s mom] obviously, but for his whole family so I would caution people against speculating before they know all the facts of what’s actually happening.”

He also said he does not believe this has affected Brady’s friendship with Trump.

“I think their relationship will probably be fine,” Stallworth said. “I don’t necessarily believe that the President would have intentionally taken a shot at– he’s very big on loyalty and I know that he and Brady have been close for a very long time.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Aaron Hernandez left note to gay prison lover before death 04.21.17 at 3:51 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a gay prison lover. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a gay prison lover. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

State officials say Aaron Hernandez left three handwritten notes next to a bible in his cell before he hanged himself this week. One of them was reportedly addressed to a gay prison lover.

The Daily Mail quotes a source close to the investigation who says the disgraced ex-NFL star was intimately involved with another inmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. The article says the other two letters were addressed to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and four-year-old daughter, Avielle, corroborating an earlier report from the Boston Herald’s Chris Villani.

The source also alleges the bible in the cell was open to John 3:16, which is the same verse that officials say was written on Hernandez’s forehead in red marker.

According to the Daily Mail’s source, the convicted murderer’s gay lover is the last person he spoke to before he ended his life. The man is now reportedly under “eyeball to eyeball” suicide watch.

On Kirk & Callahan Thursday, Boston-based investigate journalist Michele McPhee reported Hernandez was in a relationship with a male high school classmate from Connecticut prior to the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting. She says Lloyd’s alleged knowledge of the romance may have played a role in his murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” McPhee said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for Lloyd’s slaying. He was acquitted last Friday on double-murder charges for a 2012 Boston shooting, five days before he was found dead in his prison cell early Wednesday morning. Jenkins Hernandez is suing the Department of Correction in an effort to get the state to produce Hernandez’s writings and other contents from his cell.

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Michele McPhee on K&C: Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd after Lloyd used gay slur 04.20.17 at 11:25 am ET
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Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford)

Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee says Aaron Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd in June 2013 after Lloyd used a gay slur to describe the deceased ex-NFL star.

In an interview on Kirk & Callahan Thursday, McPhee said Hernandez carried on an intimate relationship with a male high school friend from Connecticut. She says investigators believe Lloyd’s knowledge of the romance could have motivated Hernandez to murder.

“There was a relationship with somebody from his high school years,” she said. “That may have provided –– and this was one of the investigative theories in the beginning –– because they got information from Ernest Wallace that perhaps –– and remember, Ernest Wallace was the guy who ditched the gun –– they had information from him that one of the motives is Odin Lloyd used a derogatory term for gay people in front of Aaron Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd had knowledge because of this relationship he had with the man in Connecticut.”

Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday after an apparent suicide attempt, five days after his acquittal in a double murder. While there was some speculation recently resurfaced rumors about his possible homosexuality led Hernandez to kill himself, McPhee says she doubts it.

“I would like to think in 2017 the guilt of having been accused of killing three people and convicted of killing his close friend would weigh heavier than his sexual orientation,” she said. “The only reason that’s even relevant at all is as a motive for the Odin Lloyd crime.”

McPhee went on to explain she’s not the only reporter with knowledge about Hernandez’s sexual orientation.

“You know what infuriates me about the people who are now criticizing that information?,” she asked. “This information is available to any reporter who wants to do the work. There are records, there are phone calls, there are letters. This is common knowledge.”

Given that Hernandez’s behavior suggests he was prone to spontaneous violent outbursts, McPhee says it’s not a stretch to believe he killed Lloyd over a slur. Prosecutors still haven’t attached a clear motive to the shooting four years later.

“You saw how he flies off the handle,” McPhee said. “Those poor guys in Boston who he allegedly killed, they bumped into him and spilled a drink and he shot them. You think if somebody made reference to him having a dual sexual orientation, you think that wouldn’t provoke him?”

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NFL players react to death of Aaron Hernandez; Serena Williams announces pregnancy at 8:43 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Boston at Toronto, 12:37 p.m. (NESN)
MLB: Cleveland at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Washington at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: 10:30 p.m. Seattle at Oakland, 10:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Cleveland at Indiana, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Toronto at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: San Antonio at Memphis, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Columbus at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: NY Rangers at Montreal, 7 p.m. (USA)
NHL: Chicago at Nashville, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: San Jose at Edmonton, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison Wednesday morning and some NFL players reacted to the news on social media.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Frequent Kirk & Callahan caller ‘Rabbit’ suggests Aaron Hernandez committed suicide due to homosexuality rumors 04.19.17 at 12:45 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday morning after an apparent suicide attempt. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday morning after an apparent suicide attempt. (Pool photo/Keith Bedford)

The timing of Aaron Hernandez’s apparent suicide Wednesday morning was curious, considering he was acquitted on double murder charges five days ago. But a longtime caller to Kirk & Callahan, and ex-con, says Hernandez took his own life because of recently resurfaced rumors about his sexuality.

In an interview on K&C Monday, Boston journalist Michelle McPhee said Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd because he caught the former Patriots tight end in a “compromising position,” presumably with another man. “Rabbit,” who calls WEEI under an alias, told K&C he spoke with Hernandez about the accusation Tuesday.

“As a gang member, the one thing they don’t take lightly is homosexuality. It’s not allowed,” he said. “You have to be terminated. He knew it was going to be non-stop trouble for him.”

“Rabbit” claims he’s spoken with Hernandez “dozens of times” over the last four years. He said the ex-NFL star seemed incensed when they spoke, but not suicidal.

“[Hernandez] just was trying to explain to me to tell everybody that it was not true. It was 100 percent not true,” he explained. “And that people are out to get him, and that people weren’t happy with him. First of all, everybody loved him [in prison]. So I was telling him, ‘You don’t have to worry about these things. Nothing is going to happen to you.’ He’s like, ‘No, no, you don’t understand.’

Prosecutors still haven’t attached a clear motive to the Lloyd shooting, four years after it occurred. During the investigation, law enforcement officials said Hernandez was likely stewing over incidents at a night club.

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Aaron Hernandez’s attorney on K&C: Bill Belichick knew Hernandez feared for his safety 04.17.17 at 8:57 am ET
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Aaron Hernandez was acquitted Friday in a 2012 double-murder case. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez was acquitted Friday in a 2012 double-murder case. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

One of Aaron Hernandez’s lead defense attorneys said Monday the Patriots knew about certain aspects of Hernandez’s unsavory off-field life, including that he feared for his safety.

In an interview on Kirk & Callahan, Ronald Sullivan, who successfully defended Hernandez in the 2012 double-murder case, said the former Patriots tight end told Belichick during a trip to Indiana in 2013 he felt his life was in danger. That anecdote coincides with reports that Hernandez visited Belichick at the 2013 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, which were first published in the Rolling Stone. The defense subpoenaed Belichick to testify at the trial, but ultimately decided against it.

According to Sullivan, Hernandez thought Alexander Bradley, the prosecution’s star witness, was going to kill him. He shared this concern with Belichick, who recommended precautions that could be taken.

“Belichick said he would help [Hernandez] with certain security measures here internally in Boston, but that he wasn’t in a position to trade him,” Sullivan said. “This would’ve gone to the notion that Alexander Bradley was in fact, of the two, this enforcer type, this drug enforcer, this killer type, and we were going to put evidence on to that effect. But in the end, we didn’t need to, and I think that decision was correct.”

The Rolling Stone story quotes an unnamed Hernandez associate who says Belichick told the ex-NFL star to lay low and rent a safe house. During the 2013 Odin Lloyd trial, jurors visited Hernandez’s apartment in Franklin, which contained several pieces of evidence that tied him to the shooting. Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the case.

“The term ‘flophouse’ is a characterization,” Sullivan said. “The Patriots did recommend apartments in other areas that were close enough for him to get back-and-forth from work. How the ultimate decision was made as to which apartment to get, that’s a longer story. But that was one of the recommendations, including the security system in his primary home that they went out and looked for other apartments where he might, at least, [live in during the season]. And in the offseason, he’d be out of state some place.”

In the double homocide case, the prosecution contested Hernandez killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a July 2012 shooting after one of them had spilled a drink on Hernandez at a club. The defense pinned the murders on Bradley, an ex-Hernandez confidante who’s currently serving a prison sentence in Connecticut for shooting up a Hartford club. Though Sullivan wouldn’t comment on the particulars of the Lloyd case, he said he thinks an appeal is possible.

“I do think he has a better than average chance of getting the first case overturned,” Sullivan said. “You guys saw the trial. There were some things in the trial that would allow for an appeal. And clearly, back to the case that I do know a lot about, had the jury convicted in this case –– and I didn’t think there was any chance, to be frank, of a conviction in this case given the quality of evidence that was put on –– there was ample reversible error in this case.”

In his post-trial remarks Friday, Sullivan called Hernandez a “beautiful young man.” He said he stands by the characterization.

“I’m sure he hung out with a crowd that was probably not the best for him –– was definitely not the best for him. I’m not making a comment on what he was like three or four years ago. I didn’t know him then,” Sullivan said. “I just commented on the individual who I know now. I definitely stand by that. … That’s the Aaron that I know. It was certainly an honor to represent him in this case, because there was a total absence of evidence connecting Aaron to this crime. It was really a tragedy.”

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