NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, 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, and 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 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 Odin Lloyd was found shot to death near Hernandez’s home. Details 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 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 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.
It was unclear whether Wallace had a lawyer, and he couldn’t be reached for comment in jail.
Wallace walked into the Miramar police station and told officers there was a warrant for his arrest, which officers confirmed.
“He stated he knew he had a warrant because he saw himself on TV,” Miramar police Officer Gil Bueno said. “He was very cooperative.”
Earlier Friday, Ortiz appeared in Bristol Superior Court in Connecticut, where a judge authorized turning him over to a Massachusetts state trooper and a North Attleborough officer.
A friend and a relative of Ortiz said they were stunned by his arrest. They said Ortiz is the devoted father of two girls and a boy, all under the age of 9. They said they couldn’t believe Ortiz could be part of a murder.
“He’s not that type of person. He has a good heart,” friend Milton Montesdeoca said.
Also Friday, authorities said law enforcement officers recovered in Bristol a car Wallace was seen driving before he surrendered.
Lloyd’s relatives were preparing for his funeral in Boston on Saturday. A relative said the service will be at Church of the Holy Spirit in the city’s Mattapan section.
Authorities have said trouble that led to Lloyd’s killing happened June 14, when Lloyd went with Hernandez to a Boston nightclub. Hernandez became upset when Lloyd began talking with people Hernandez apparently didn’t like.
The Patriots are offering a new jersey to all fans who want to get rid of one they bought with Hernandez’s name on it. The team said fans can come to their store at the stadium July 6-7 for a free jersey of comparable value.
ALLEN WORKS TO AID SOLDIERS: Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is teaming with the Professional Bull Riders to further his Homes for Wounded Warriors project.
Allen established the charity in 2009 to provide handicapped-accessible homes and remodels for wounded soldiers. Allen also has owned three bulls in the PBR tour since last year, and he will unite his two passions starting in August at an event in Oklahoma.
Allen and the PBR will promote and produce several bull-riding events, with the proceeds going to his Homes for Wounded Warriors foundation.
Allen said the foundation’s goal is to build three to five homes this year and increase that number to five to 10 next year.
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