A rising star in the U.S. National Football League has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of a semi-professional football player.
Prosecutors announced the charges against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez Wednesday at a court in Massachusetts.
Hernandez was also charged with five weapons violations. He entered a plea of not guilty.
Earlier Wednesday, the 23-year-old Hernandez was arrested at his mansion in North Attleborough, about 65 kilometers from Boston. The Patriots later announced that they had released him.
Investigators had questioned Hernandez and searched his house since the body of Odin Lloyd, a player for the semi-professional Boston Bandits, was found on June 17 in an industrial park close to Hernandez's home. Lloyd had been shot multiple times.
Media reports say Hernandez and Lloyd knew each other.
Following Hernandez's arrest, the Patriots and the National Football League issued statements expressing sympathy toward Lloyd's family and friends.
Hernandez has played three seasons in the NFL. He has caught 175 passes and 18 touchdowns and is considered a threat by opposing teams.