Aaron Hernandez could also face Massachusetts wrongful death suit

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez made national headlines this week after he was arrested and charged with the murder of a semi-pro football player, whose body was discovered less than a mile from Hernandez’s home. The 27-year-old football player, who was released from the Patriots two hours after being charged, is being held at the Bristol County House of Correction and Jail in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, without bail.

In addition to first-degree murder, Hernandez was also charged with five gun-related charges, including one count of carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of possessing a large-capacity firearm and two counts of possessing a firearm without an FID card. According to prosecutors, Hernandez shot Odin L. Lloyd in a North Attleborough industrial park on June 17 after getting into a fight with Lloyd at a nightclub.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him. Prosecutors allege that Hernandez and two accomplices drove with the victim to an industrial park near Hernandez’s home and shot the victim five times. A defense attorney for Hernandez called the case against his client circumstantial, but the judge presiding over the case said the case was “very, very strong” and denied bail.

The case grew even more shocking when it was reported today that the football player is also being investigated for an unsolved 2012 double murder in Boston.

According to a report from the Boston Herald, it is likely that Hernandez will also face a Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit in addition to the criminal charges he faces. A defense attorney told the Herald that it is likely Hernandez will be sued by the family of the man who was murdered, and he explained that “Any time it can be shown you committed a criminal act against another, you’re open to potential civil litigation.”

An interesting point to note is that the standard of proof is different in a civil case compared to a criminal case. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, while in a civil case the plaintiff only has to prove their case by clear or convincing evidence, which is a lesser burden. That’s because criminal cases are taken more seriously since a person’s liberty is at risk.

Source: Boston.com, “Former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, charged with murder, fails in second attempt to get bail,” Javier Panzar, Wesley Lowery, Travis Andersen and John R. Ellement, June 27, 2013; Boston Herald, “Civil lawsuit against Aaron Hernandez a possibility,” Dave Wedge, June 27, 2013