Aaron Hernandez Pleads Not Guilty to Murder, NFL Star "Confident He Will Be Exonerated"

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As expected, former NFL star Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and more in a Massachusetts court on Friday.

Six times, a charge was read and six times, his plea was "Not guilty."

Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the murder of his friend, 27-year-old semipro football player Odin Lloyd, and five accompanying weapons charges.

Today was his arraignment. His next hearing is October 9.

Hernandez will seek bail on that date. Until then, he'll remain held in a Bristol County correctional facility, where he has been since his arrest on June 26.

A Bristol County District Court judge has ordered the athlete held without bail, citing the seriousness of the charges and the convincing evidence.

Hernandez's attorneys will attack the circumstantial evidence next month, but bail is unlikely with other investigations - with possible links to him - pending.

Just the same, his lawyers said he will be "exonerated" and asked the public not to jump to conclusions based on "one-sided and untested" evidence.

"In a sense, this is like the opening kickoff," Hernandez lawyer Charles Rankin said after the arraignment, "and we have a long way to go before trial."

"We encourage everyone to keep an open mind. We feel confident when evidence is presented in a court of law, Aaron Hernandez will be exonerated."

Last month, prosecutors divulged that police are probing Hernandez's possible ties to a double homicide in Boston in 2012 in which two men were killed.

Then, in February 2013, a shooting in Florida took place and one of Hernandez's friends said he shot him in the face and blinded him in one eye.

That friend, Alexander Bradley, has filed a lawsuit that says the ex-New England Patriot shot him as they argued in a car, then dumped him in an alley to die.

Hernandez was granted a stay in that case until criminal charges against him in Massachusetts - and any other possible jurisdiction - have been settled.

Stay tuned.

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