According to reports, Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was denied release on his first degree murder charge during his appeal to be released on bail.The decision, which was handed down by a superior court judge upheld the prior ruling of a district court judge shortly following Hernandez’s arraignment for the murder charge and five additional weapons charges in relation to the alleged killing of Odin Lloyd. The evidence for weapons charges allegedly stems from the recovery of .22 and .45 caliber ammunition recovered from a condo where Hernandez had allegedly been present recently.
In the ruling, the judge expressed the opinion that although circumstantial, the current evidence suggests that Hernandez committed the crime in a cold-blooded manner, suggesting that he does not conform to societal rules, and is therefore a potential flight risk should he be released on bail.
Hernandez’s next scheduled appearance in relation to the charges is tentatively set for July 24 for a probable cause hearing, although there is a chance that prosecutors could schedule a grand jury prior to then in order to proceed with a formal indictment.
Massachusetts law defines first degree murder as follows:
Murder committed with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission or attempted commission of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment for life, is murder in the first degree.
What makes murder in the first degree distinguishable from other forms of murder is the intent element. Specifically, the crime must have been committed with malice aforethought, extreme atrocity or cruelty. This sort of mental state is commonly thought of as murder committed “in cold blood” rather than a “heat of passion crime.” However, this sort of malice intent need not be formulated over a long period of time; even forming the intent just prior to committing the crime can be enough.
However, the second part of the definition includes an additional class of crime, which is also considered to be murder in the first degree. Commonly referred to as the “felony murder rule,” this catches any killing — whether inadvertent or not– which occurs as a result of the commission or attempted commission of some other serious crime. Here, the seriousness is measured by the potential prison sentence imposed by that separate crime. Examples of such scenarios can include casualties of arson or robberies gone awry.
First degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
If you have been accused of a murder or any other crime within the state of Massachusetts, you will want to ensure that you have an aggressive, knowledgeable, and experienced Boston defense attorney on your side. Do not submit to police questioning without first exercising your right to counsel. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. today in order to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation. You can contact us by calling 617-367-0450 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Melanie’s Law Impacts Massachusetts OUI Cases, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published June 28, 2013
Massachusetts State Police Search New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez’s House a Second Time, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published June 25, 2013