June 29, 2013 in Sports

Connecticut man arraigned in ex-Patriot’s murder case

David Klepper And Dave Collins Associated Press
 

Hernandez
(Full-size photo)

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – An arrested man from former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s hometown was transferred to Massachusetts on Friday to face a gun charge connected to the murder case against Hernandez while a third suspect surrendered to authorities in Florida.

Carlos Ortiz, who lives in Bristol, Conn., and Ernest Wallace, who walked into a South Florida police station, were the men identified earlier as being with Hernandez and the victim the night of his shooting death, a prosecutor said.

Ortiz was charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm in North Attleborough, where Hernandez lives, on June 17, the day Boston semipro football player Odin Lloyd was found shot to death near Hernandez’s home. Details of the charge weren’t released.

Wallace, whose wanted poster was released Thursday night, surrendered in Miramar, Fla., police said. Authorities had been seeking Wallace on a charge of acting as an accessory after Lloyd’s murder. Details of that allegation also weren’t released.

Police arrested Hernandez on Wednesday at his home and charged him with orchestrating Lloyd’s execution-style shooting. Prosecutors said Hernandez orchestrated the killing because Lloyd talked to the wrong people at a nightclub.

Hernandez, Ortiz and Wallace were in a car with Lloyd shortly before his death, Bristol County, Mass., District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter said.

“We now have in custody the three individuals who were in the silver Nissan Altima,” Sutter said Friday when Ortiz was arraigned on the gun charge in Attleboro District Court.

All three men have ties to Bristol, Conn.: Hernandez grew up there, Ortiz had been living there, and authorities had conflicting addresses for Wallace there and in Miramar.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty to murder and was denied bail Thursday. Ortiz also was being held without bail pending a court hearing on July 9. Wallace was taken to a jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pending extradition proceedings, police said.

Hernandez’s lawyer argued in court that the case is circumstantial. He said Hernandez, who was cut by the Patriots the day he was arrested, wanted to clear his name.

Ortiz’s attorney, John Connors, said he will seek bail for his client at the July 9 hearing. He described Ortiz as a “gentle person” and said he will advise Ortiz to plead not guilty.

“I can say that his charge has nothing to do with homicide,” Connors said.

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