Last season, the National Football League experienced a number of tragic incidents involving violence and questionable decision-making. The Kansas City Chiefs Javon Belcher committed suicide near the team's training facility after fatally shooting his girlfriend. Also, Josh Brent, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys was driving drunk when he crashed a car that killed his best friend.
Now, weeks before training camps open, the NFL has another public relations grenade to cover. Aaron Hernandez, of the New England Patriots was recently arrested and charged with first degree murder. (The Patriots released Hernandez an hour after his arrest).
First degree murder is the most serious level of violent crime that can be charged. It is the level given to premeditated murder as well as killings committed during the course of a felony.
Prosecutors in Massachusetts believe that they have pieced together information indicating that Hernandez planned to kill his friend, Odin Lloyd. Authorities obtained search warrants to search his home, vehicle, cell phone and security system. They reported that Hernandez had destroyed his phone and disabled the security system, but were apparently able to obtain information that supported their notion of probable cause that allowed them to make an arrest.
Hernandez is currently being held without bail, despite arguments from his attorney that he is not a public safety risk or a flight risk. Judges consider the amount of bail to be applied (if any) based on the severity of the crime, the defendant's criminal history and the likelihood that he or she will appear at future hearings. It is expected that another hearing will be held to modify the bail amount.
In the meantime, the NFL will have to answer questions about yet another violent crime.
Source: ABC News.com, Patriots star Aaron Hernandez charged with murder, June 26, 2013