GPD closes Hernandez case

Aaron Hernandez gains yards off a Tim Tebow pass during the second half of the University of Florida vs Arkansas game Oct. 17, 2009. GPD closes Hernandez case

Gainesville police have closed a 10-year-old case in which former NFL star and Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez was once accused of shooting two men, according to documents obtained by The Sun.

GPD closed the 2007 case last month after one witness recanted his statement naming Hernandez as the shooter, despite initial reports identifying NFL star Reggie Nelson and another man with Hernandez’s description as the culprits. Neither Nelson nor Hernandez were ever charged in the case.

Officer Ben Tobias, a GPD spokesman, recently said the case was still an active investigation and those involved wouldn’t comment, but he said this week that he had been mistaken and that the case had been closed.

Hernandez was acquitted last week of a double homicide and was appealing his 2015 conviction and life sentence in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Days after his acquittal, Hernandez hanged himself in his cell, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Massachusetts state law states if a person dies after a conviction, but during the appeal process, the person’s legal records from that case go away. The technicality makes Hernandez an innocent man.

Still, many suspected him as the shooter in the Gainesville case due to his run-ins with the law.

“Just because it’s printed in a police report doesn’t mean that actually happened,” Tobias said.

On Sept. 30, 2007, around 2:20 a.m., Gainesville residents Randall Cason, Justin Glass and Corey Smith were driving in a 1997 white Ford Crown Victoria after leaving the popular club The Venue, according to GPD records.

Records show Cason and his friends got into an altercation with a group of University of Florida football players at some point during the night.

Cason told police a black Chevy Tahoe pulled up behind the vehicle he was riding in while at a red light on West University Avenue. He said two men then stepped out of the Tahoe.

One man, he identified as Nelson, who had recently been drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The other, Cason said, was a large, muscular, “Hawaiian” or “Hispanic” man with “lots of tattoos.“

The “Hawaiian” man, Cason said, pulled out a gun and fired four to five shots into the passenger side of the Crown Victoria, records show. Glass was shot in the arm, and Smith was shot in the head. They were rushed to the hospital, where Smith had a piece of his skull removed to prevent further swelling.Glass and Smith survived. Neither could be reached for comment.During GPD’s investigation, police learned Nelson had a black SUV that matched the tag number provided by Cason. Nelson told police that he had no involvement in the shooting and said that Hernandez, too, was at the club that night, records show.Upon GPD’s attempt to follow up with Hernandez, records show Hernandez invoked his right to counsel.Cason told police he knew Nelson and considered him a friend. He later rescinded […]