Aaron Hernandez Case

 

Former Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez Not Allowed To Watch His Old Teammates Win Super Bowl in Dramatic Game As He Sits In Segregation Unit On Trial For Murder

By Michele McPhee

Jan 30, 2015

Aaron Hernandez helped lead the New England Patriots into the 2011 Super Bowl, but this weekend, the former NFL standout won't even be allowed to watch his teammates take on the Seattle Seahawks on TV, ABC News has learned.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson told ABC News that Hernandez is back where he started shortly after his arrest on June 26, 2013, when he was accused of the murder of his one-time friend : a 70-square-foot solitary confinement cell in the Special Management Unit in the jail at North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He cannot watch television, have a radio, or even read newspapers there. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. Read More

 

By Michele McPhee

November 20, 2014 

It was 2:07 am on June 17, 2013 when a silver Nissan Ultima pulled into the Blue Hill Express gas station on Route 138 in Canton.  A six-foot-two man made of 240 pounds of muscle climbed out of the passenger seat wearing a white hoodie, dark pants and light sneakers. He filled the gas tank with a wide grin and then went into station’s convenient store where he paid cash for a cigar and Bubble Yum cotton candy gum. Still smiling, he offered the clerk a chunk of gum, which was declined, and then went back outside.

The guy behind the counter later told investigators he did not recognize the hulking customer as Patriots superstar tight end Aaron Hernandez, who at that time wore jersey #81. In fact, the NFL player didn’t stand out at all until, several law enforcement sources said, until he began to dance in front of the headlights of the rental car. Apparently high on hydroponic weed, Hernandez swayed in the silence, the only audible music came from the cars that whizzed past the gas station. It went on so long, according to a surveillance video that is part of the government’s case against Hernandez, that the gas station clerk turned off the overhead lights “to get rid of him.” 

Anyone looking at Hernandez dancing in the dark at a dumpy suburban gas station would never guess the NFL standout, worth $40 million at the time, was on his way to his way to an execution set up via text messages exchanged on the Patriots players’ personal phone, a sloppy murder committed in an industrial park just over a mile from his $1.2 million North Attleboro mansion.

Odin Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found on June 17, 2013. Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder as the triggerman in the killing nine days later and two other men were arrested as co-conspirators. Lloyd had been a linebacker for the Boston Bandits, a semi-pro football team, and had practically become a part of the Hernandez family while dating the sister of Shayana Jenkins, Hernandez’s now fiancé and the live-in mother of his toddler daughter.  The two had spent most of Father’s Day weekend partying together at Boston nightclubs.

But history would come to show that friendship was not an obstacle when Hernandez was ready to pump a bullet into someone.

Take the case of Alexander Bradley, a friendship that stretched back years, developed in Hernandez’s old neighborhood in Bristol, Connecticut. Bradley was not just a trusted childhood friend, he also acted as Hernandez’s unofficial bodyguard, a role he felt relatively secure about on the night of February 12, 2013 when he accompanied the Patriots go-to tight end to Tootsie’s strip club in Miami.

After a night of partying Hernandez was driving with Bradley and two other men when the car they were in took a sudden detour into a remote industrial parking lot in Palm Beach. There, Bradley now claims, Hernandez pulled over, turned, shot him in the head, and then rolled him out of the moving car with swift kick and left him for dead. Bradley, a longtime drug dealer who embodies the police parlance phrase “known to law enforcement,” didn’t give up his shooter to Palm Beach cops when he was found in the fetal position, bleeding and barely alive. Instead he complained in a civil lawsuit filed months later, not long after Hernandez’s arrest on first-degree murder charges on June 26 2013, seeking $100,000 in damages for his lost right eye.

Bradley, however, is unlikely to ever collect that cash. He has the unlikely distinction of being both an alleged victim of Hernandez gunplay, and a participant, according to testimony he reluctantly gave to a Boston grand jury who charged Hernandez earlier this year with yet another two charges of first-degree murder.  

According to Suffolk County prosecutors, Hernandez unloaded a full clip of a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson into the passenger side window carrying a car full of strangers on July 15, 2012, killing two men and wounding a third. One of the victims, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said, had bumped Hernandez on the dance floor at Cure nightclub in the Theater District. That prompted the then Patriots player to pull alongside the victims’ vehicle at a red light where he “ambushed and executed them.”

Bradley was his passenger that night, and, sources told Boston, he has since claimed he and Hernandez “made a rap video” about the double murder. Five months after that unpredictable burst of gunfire, the Patriots season began and Hernandez was a big part of its success, catching 51 passes for 483 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He had 15 more receptions in the playoffs as the Patriots advanced to the A.F.C. championship game.

And two bodies allegedly added to a long list of violent acts that have marred his journey into the NFL.

Just like the Canton gas station attendant, the one victim who survived the fusillade of gunfire didn’t realize the gunman who murdered his friends and sent him to the hospital, was allegedly Aaron Hernandez until after his arrest for the Lloyd murder when his image was plastered across the news being led out of mansion in handcuffs flanked by Massachusetts state troopers assigned to the Bristol County DA’s office, a white T-shirt pulled over his muscled frame, his wrists manacled together. 

Hernandez has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest, first at the Bristol County jail where he was given a copy of Tuesdays with Morrie and his letters to friends were sold to TMZ. After a jailhouse fight there in February that led to additional assault charges against Hernandez, he asked to be moved to Boston, and was relocated to a cell at the Nashua Street jail in July where he remains today.

He is slated to go on trial in Jan. 9, 2015 at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River for Odin Lloyd’s murder where his supporters will likely continue to crowd the courthouse wearing jerseys with his old Patriots #81. By the summer of 2015, Suffolk County prosecutors are expected to bring him to trial for the South End double murder case, an investigation that was unsolved for two years despite video evidence that has since been collected that showed Hernandez at the crime scene and in a parking garage with Bradley minutes before the shooting.   

Hernandez is also charged with a slew of gun charges including unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a FID card, and having a large capacity-feeding device in Bristol County.  However the .45 caliber Glock used to kill Odin Lloyd was never found.

But investigators believe that Hernandez had been in possession of the murder weapon on the day Lloyd was shot and killed, and recovered a photograph taken inside Hernandez’s home by his own security camera at 3:33 am that shows him with “what appears to be a gun in his hand,’’ according to court records. “Aaron Hernandez is observed to move the gun between his hands,” Bristol County prosecutors wrote. The image was recovered even after Bristol County prosecutors said someone “tampered with” the surveillance cameras inside his home. Law enforcement sources said Hernandez “smashed the system with a bat.”

More than a year after his arrest, Hernandez is now essentially broke. He was cut from the team immediately and his sponsors dumped that same day. Bob Kraft was interviewed by Massachusetts State Police troopers and told them asked #81 if he had anything to do with Lloyd’s murder. “Aaron looked me straight in the eye and said he had nothing to do with it,’’ Kraft told investigators. Coach Bill Bellichick was also furious and told cops Hernandez lied to his face about his whereabouts the night of Lloyd’s murder. Even his athlete’s frame is gone, his superstar physique withering, muscles that appear to get smaller with each court appearance in both Bristol County and Suffolk County, his body acting like a balloon with a slow leak.

Just when it seemed things could not get worse for Aaron Hernandez, Newsweek has learned it’s about to.

ATF agents, according to multiple law enforcement sources, police records and courtroom statements, initiated a federal investigation after Hernandez’s first arrest into allegations that the NFL player became a gun runner in the off-season, a case that is expected to lead to yet another indictment against him in the coming weeks. The investigation is centered on a True Value hardware store in Belle Glade, Florida and a firing range in Delray Beach and tracking multiple guns connected to Hernandez also led investigators to take a closer look at other allegations of gun violence leveled against Hernandez, including an unsolved shooting in 2007. 

Another big part of the ATF’s case revolves around an Aaron Hernandez selfie.

Metadata is a phone’s hard drive of sorts. When selfies – like the one Hernandez took in a mirror that shows him holding what appears to be a .45 caliber Glock, his eyes as shiny as the diamond studs in each of his ears obtained by TMZ – are stored in a phone, data about the photo can later be recovered much like information on a computer’s hard drive. Metadata retrieved from Hernandez’s cell phone, multiple law enforcement sources told Newsweek, provided both a GPS location and a date stamp of the Hernandez selfie shown by TMZ and determined that it was taken in 2007 when he was a player for the University of Florida Gators, a teenager living with two other Gators standouts who now play for the NFL, Pittsburg Steelers center Lawshawn Maurkice and Miami Dolphins center and guard James Michael Pouncey, the identical twins who would apologize to fans shortly after they were photographed at their 2013 birthday party wearing “Free Hernandez” baseball caps.  

The same year that Hernandez took the selfie he, along with the Pouncey twins and another former UF Gators player who made it into the NFL, Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson, were questioned in Gainesville, Florida about a drive-by shooting that took place the morning after a Gators loss on Sept. 30, 2007, according to Gainesville PD reports. One victim was shot in the head and never fully recovered. Another was shot in the arm.  

Gainesville Police responded to a hospital on the UF campus around 2:30 am where they found a bullet-riddled white 1997 Ford Crown Victoria and, according to the report, a “very emotional black male identified as Randall Cason,” slamming his fists on the hood screaming, “This is my fault!”

Cason than began to tell police about an altercation that began earlier in the night at the popular college hangout the Venue that involved football players who he recognized as “the Pouncey twins” and “Reggie Nelson,” who at that time was a rookie player for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Another football player, Cason told police, looked like he might have been Hawaiian and had “lots of tattoos” inked into his body. The fight started after one of the Pouncey twins had a gold chain snatched from his neck at the club, a theft that was later blamed on the “emotional black male” Randall Cason. The football players were pissed, and Reggie Nelson confronted Cason, who had ties to local gangs.  Nelson would later tell police, “Cason told him the chain had already been given away.”

Cason wasn’t afraid to talk tough, even to the massive football players. He explained to police “he was deep,” when he arrived at Venue, which, according to the Gainesville PD report, was “slang for having several buddies with him for backup.” A week earlier his brother had beefed with the same group of football players, and Cason was ready for trouble that night and stepped right to Nelson to blurt, “So what are you going to do about this?” At that point club security stepped in and the fight moved outside to a parking lot. Cason thought he and his friends they had straightened out the problem with “the football players” there, telling detectives that “they were able to talk things out, shake hands, and everyone was all smiles.” Cason climbed into the backseat of the Crown Vic to leave. His friend Justin Glass was behind the wheel and Corey Smith was in the front passenger seat.

The trio wasn’t worried, even if the handshakes were bogus. They had come to the club strapped. Police found two guns in the gunshot splattered Crown Vic, a “black and rusty Smith and Wesson .40 cal mod. 410 pistol was on the right rear floor, partially concealed under the right front seat.” Not surprisingly, that gun’s serial number had been obliterated.  A second pistol was found on the driver’s side floor “concealed under a black XXL T-shirt with “Skoolin” logo.” This gun was a Taurus 9 mm PT 111 and still had its serial number. Strangely, police learned when they ran that serial number the gun had been reported stolen from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. To this day it has never been explained how that stolen gun made its way to the floor of a reputed gangbanger’s car in Gainesville.

Cason was nearly hysterical when he described the actual shooting. He told police they were stopped at a red light at 1300 West University Avenue when two men approached the passenger side window and “the Hawaiian male” fired approximately five shots from what investigators believe was a .380 handgun into the car. One of the men was Reggie Nelson, Cason said, and then quickly added that the Jax Jaguars player did not have a gun, but was just there. It was the tattooed guy that did the shooting, Cason said, and he jumped out of the car to chase him screaming,“You killed my friend!”

Smith was shot in the back of the head but the bullet did not penetrate his skull. Still, the gunshot wound was life threatening and required surgeons to perform an emergency bone flap procedure to relieve the swelling of his brain.

 Glass was hit in the arm and told police at the hospital that he remembered hearing Cason screaming, “Oh my God!” Cason then pushed over the wounded driver and drove straight to UF’s Health Shands Hospital.  

Cason was unscathed by bullets and was crying at the hospital telling police, “It should have been him that was shot, not Corey.”  

 At the intersection where the shooting took place investigators recovered four .380 casings, a Coors Light beer bottle, and noted “several areas of apparent blood drops.” The beer bottle was swabbed for DNA, as was the blood splatters on the street. The Crown Vic was towed and processed by forensic experts who recovered a fired bullets and ballistics in the front seat.

Meanwhile investigators set out to search for a black 2007 GMC Yukon with Florida plate GTP39 that was registered to NFL rookie player Reggie Lee Nelson who was identified in police reports written that night as a suspect. After the parking lot meeting the football players had left Venue in Nelson’s SUV.

Less than two hours later, Nelson’s vehicle was found parked at a nearby apartment complex by a Gainesville PD patrol officer, according to a report. The officer peered through the passenger window and noted “an unexpended handgun round in the ashtray.” He sat on the car until Nelson emerged the next morning and was Mirandized by detectives. Nelson agreed to voluntarily speak with detectives without a lawyer present. He denied any part of the shooting, but cops wrote in their report that Nelson was likely “covering up some aspect of the shooting.”

Still, Nelson was never charged.

The Hawaiian was eventually identified as UF Gators star Aaron Hernandez, then a 17-year-old UF freshman. Because of his age, Hernandez’s name was redacted from the Gainseville PD reports but multiple investigative sources confirm he was the suspect identified as the “Hawaiian,” a possible shooter. Detectives tried to question him in early October 2007 but he lawyered up, according to the reports.

Later that same day Randal Cason rescinded his identification of Reggie Nelson and Aaron Hernandez and the case went cold. 

Massachusetts state troopers traveled to Gainesville to took a closer look at the 2007 shooting, along with other alleged acts of violence leveled against Hernandez during his time at UF.      

Those incidents include the punch Hernandez allegedly delivered to a bouncer at another Gainesville hotspot, the Swamp, in April 2007. The bouncer, Michael Taphorn, then 30, had escorted an underage Hernandez out of the bar after he refused to pay for his drinks. As he turned to walk back into the club, Hernandez sucker punched him in the left side of his head, according to a police report, rupturing Taphorn’s eardrum. The incident may have been even worse if Tim Tebow had not stepped in to pull his UF teammate away from the victim, which came after he settled Hernandez’s bill. Police filed a felony battery complaint for Hernandez, but somehow the Gators football star avoided any criminal charges in connection with the assault.

 On May 18, 2013, a month before Odin Lloyd’s murder, Hernandez was partying with Ernest Wallace at the South Street Café in Providence when someone began screaming, “Patriots suck!”  Hernandez left the bar and once outside, he “took a piss on the window,’’ a Rhode Island police source confirmed, infuriating the heckler and his friends who then came outside to scuffle. Brown University police officers intervened before the incident escalated and Hernandez took off in one direction as Wallace ditched a gun under a parked car in another. Neither man was charged that night.   

But the .22 caliber gun recovered by Brown University Police gun, is now one of the weapons ATF agents have since traced to the True Value store in Belle Glade. The ongoing ATF investigation also led investigators to an Orlando man nicknamed “Papoo,” now identified as Oscar Hernandez, 23, who is not related to the former NFL star.

Oscar Hernandez, according to a federal indictment that charges him with perjury before a grand jury seated to hear evidence in a gun trafficking case, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, purchased a gray Toyota Camry that was found parked in the former Patriots tight end’s North Attleboro. Inside the car investigators recovered a FEG Hungarian high-caliber rifle, which the ATF has since traced back to the Delray Shooting Center in Delray Beach.

A man identified only as “John Doe” on April 15, 2013 purchased the rifle at the Delray Beach firing range. A magazine was attached to the gun and was loaded with 33 live rounds, according to court records. Oscar Hernandez hid the rifle, and two .22 caliber guns, in the Toyota after he purchased it in late April 2013 and then had it shipped the car with the secreted weapons to the North Attleboro house owned by Aaron Hernandez.   The pistols were tracked by the ATF to the True Value Hardware store in Belle Glade where “John Doe” purchased them both in April.

The pending federal indictment is expected to allege it was a scheme that Aaron Hernandez had participated in more than once: trafficking weapons from Florida to New England.    

Court records in the Oscar Hernandez case refer to the ATF investigation into other firearms connected to Aaron Hernandez, including one “that was used in a murder in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.”

That Glock .45 that has still not been recovered even after cops dove into swampy waters, searched wooded areas, and even searched his locker at Gillette Stadium. After the Patriots dumped Hernandez investigators executed a search warrant there, but came up empty. Investigators were clearly looking for weapons and noted in court documents “no firearm, firearm feeding devices, ammunition, or other items of evidentiary value were located within the contents of Aaron Hernandez’s New England Patriots Locker.”

The missing gun has led some sports pundits to speculate that Aaron Hernandez might beat the case at his January 2015 trial for murdering Odin Lloyd.

Odin Lloyd’s mother and family have attended every hearing for Aaron Hernandez wearing giant buttons emblazoned with the murdered man’s image. During one such hearing, prosecutors discussed the findings of the state medical examiner that had determined that Lloyd had died of “multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.” He was shot in the back, stomach, and right forearm. Then, as he was “lying supine on the ground,” he was shot twice more in the chest. The ME found .45 caliber projectiles embedded in his flesh. As the injuries were described in open court, Lloyd’s mother audible sobbed and became so overwhelmed with emotion she had to be led out of the courtroom held up by family members, escorted by the Bristol County victim witness advocate.

Lloyd’s girlfriend has not been in court, but her sister Shayana Jenkins, has. It is unclear how the Jenkins sisters are getting along these days, but one thing is for certain. Shayana’s life has been upended by the murder of her sister’s boyfriend/ She is also slated to go on trial on perjury charges after Bristol County prosecutors accused her of lying to investigators multiple times, including about guns her fiancé kept in their home.

Hernandez’s alleged accomplices have also been held without bail.

Carlos Ortiz fled Massachusetts after the murder and was found in his hometown of Bristol, CT on June 26, 2013 where he was charged with a fugitive from justice, charges that were later upgraded to accessory after the fact to murder. Two days later, Ernest Wallace surrendered to police in Miramar, Florida on where he was charged and charged with accessory after the fact to murder. Investigators believe he tossed the murder weapon, the missing .45, on his way to Florida, a fact that is likely to be revealed at his 2015 trial.

Ortiz, however, rolled on his friend within hours of his arrest and gave up the location of a secret apartment Hernandez rented in Franklin to investigators.

Investigators got a search warrant for the Franklin apartment and found ammunition for multiple weapons there, along with the white hooded sweatshirt Hernandez wore in the surveillance video that showed him dancing in his headlights at the Canton gas station. 

The bubble gum Hernandez offered to the gas station clerk that same night was a move that he would repeat the next day when he returned the Nissan used to pick up Lloyd at his Fayston Street home in Boston, the car that drove him to his death. Hernandez showed up at an Enterprise Rental car location in North Attleboro around 5:30 pm on June 17, the day Lloyd’s body was found. He pulled out a pack of Bubbalicious bubble gum and offered the Enterprise employee a piece. Like the gas station attendant, she declined it.

But when she was cleaning the car she found a chewed piece of “blue bubblegum” under the driver’s seat, along with an unspent .45 caliber bullet. Thinking nothing of it, she threw both items in the dumpster. Troopers threw on coveralls and searched for the evidence, successfully. The bullet was a match to the ballistics found at the scene of Lloyd’s murder and Hernandez’s DNA was a match to the chewed piece of gum.

The one thing police did not recover, however, was the purported rap video Alexander Bradley claimed was made after the Boston double murder in 2012. Investigators hope to find it on one of Hernandez’s devices before his trial in that case in the summer of 2015.


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Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder. Why Did the Former Patriots Tight End Allegedly Kill His Friend? Details on the Investigation Continues.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson had this sad news for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez when he arrived at the jail there in June, where the once promising NFL star is being held without bail, charged with first degree murder in connection with the execution of his friend:  

"The only weight room here,'' the sheriff told the muscled gridiron star, "is spelled W-A-I-T."  

Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder. Why Did the Former Patriots Tight End Allegedly Kill His Friend? Details on the Investigation Continues.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson had this sad news for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez when he arrived at the jail there in June, where the once promising NFL star is being held without bail, charged with first degree murder in connection with the execution of his friend:  

"The only weight room here,'' the sheriff told the muscled gridiron star, "is spelled W-A-I-T."  

Breaking News Coverage by Michele McPhee for ABC News 

 Aaron Hernandez in his home just moments after - prosecutors said - he murdered Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player from Boston. 

Aaron Hernandez in his home just moments after - prosecutors said - he murdered Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player from Boston. 

Aaron Hernandez Tampered With His Own Security Surveillance System, Prosecutors Charge. That Did Not Stop Investigators From Recovering Pictures Of Him Walking Through His House At 3:33 AM - Minutes After His Friend Odin Lloyd Was Murdered - With A Large Caliber Handgun.  

Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player, was shot five times with a .45 caliber gun. In court this week, Hernandez looked smaller. Perhaps it's because the Bristol County Correctional Center, law enforcement officials there told him, did not have a weight room. "We told him there was a WAIT room. W.A.I.T. Wait." 

 

Another Suspect In The Murder Of Odin Lloyd - Whose Execution Led To Career Ending Charges for NFL Star Aaron Hernandez - Is Expected In A Massachusetts Courtroom Monday

Ernest Wallace turned himself into police in Miramar, Florida and is one of three men who drove Odin Lloyd, who played semi-pro football for the Boston Bandits, to his death, prosecutors in Bristol County say. 

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Tim Tebow Tries to Break Up 2007 Barroom Fight Between Gators Teammate Aaron Hernandez and Bar Manager.

Unsuccessfully. Hernandez was accused of delivering a punch that ruptured the manager's right eardrum leaving him with hearing loss. He then fled. Police swore out a complaint charging Hernandez with felony assault but it remains unclear how the case was adjudicated.

Aaron Hernandez Investigated in Two More Murders

June 27, 2013–Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez is being investigated for possible involvement in a drive-by shooting that left two men dead in Boston last year, ABC News has learned.

Aaron Hernandez Murder Case Points to 2012 Double Homicide as Possible Motive

Investigators working on the murder case against Aaron Hernandez are focusing on whether the victim was killed because he might have had information about a double homicide in 2012 that investigators suspect might also be tied to Hernandez, sources have told ABC News.


Aaron Hernandez 'Victim,' Critically Wounded, Shot Twice More in Chest

Odin Lloyd, who was allegedly killed by former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, was shot three times as he twisted away in a futile attempt to avoid the gunshots, and then was shot two more times on each side of his chest, the prosecutor said today.

 New England Patriots/NFL

New England Patriots/NFL

Aaron Hernandez Arrest Warrant Prepared on Obstruction of Justice Charge

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now the subject of an arrest warrant drawn up on obstruction of justice charges based on the possible destruction of evidence in connection with the shooting death of his friend, ABC News has learned.

Cops Spend Four Hours in New Search of Aaron Hernandez Home

Police searched the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for nearly four hours today, with a dozen officers and canine units entering the sprawling house and searching the back yard and his white Audi SUV.

 Getty Images

Getty Images

Patriot's Star Aaron Hernandez's Home Searched After Killing

Massachusetts State Police and prosecutors arrived at Hernandez's $1.3 million, 5,600-square foot home, which is outfitted with a home gym and a swimming pool, just before 5 p.m. and spent hours with him inside the mansion.

Aaron Hernandez, Tangled in Murder Probe, Also Sued for Allegedly Shooting Friend

 New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is caught in the middle of a homicide investigation of an "associate," is also being sued by a former friend who claims Hernandez shot his eye out after the two left a Miami strip club.

Aaron Hernandez Destroyed Home Security System and Phone, Sources Tell ABC News

 Police plan to go back to the home of New England Patriot's tight end Aaron Hernandez today with another warrant based on evidence that "he destroyed his home security system,'' an investigator close to the case told ABC News.