By Daniel Lovering
BOSTON (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez, who was accused of killing a semi-professional football player in June, is due back in a Massachusetts court on Monday afternoon for a hearing in the case.
The former New England Patriots tight end was charged in the fatal shooting of his friend, Odin Lloyd, in an industrial area near his home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
Hernandez, 24, a star player with a $41 million contract when he was arrested, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons-related charges and is being held in Bristol County Jail while awaiting trial. The Patriots dropped him from the team a few hours after his arrest.
Hernandez is expected to appear at Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, for a pretrial conference and discovery status hearing, a court official said.
Prosecutors say Hernandez summoned Lloyd to his home and drove him, along with friends Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, to the isolated area where Hernandez shot Lloyd five times.
The two men had argued at a nightclub a few nights before the shooting because Lloyd, 27, had been speaking with people Hernandez disliked, prosecutors say.
Hernandez's attorneys have said the case against him is weak and circumstantial. Investigators have not presented the gun Hernandez is alleged to have used in the killing.
Last week, Lloyd's mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez that seeks to block a payment of more than $3.25 million his former NFL union contends he is owed. A judge put a hold on his $1.26 million mansion while the suit is pending.
(Editing by Edith Honan and Bernadette Baum)