Aaron Hernandez associate indicted
By Susan Candiotti
(CNN) — A Massachusetts grand jury has indicted an associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in a shooting death, Bristol County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Sam Sutter said Friday.
Carlos Ortiz, 27, of Bristol, Connecticut, was indicted on a single count of accessory to murder after the fact in connection with the June 17 killing of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty this month to first-degree murder in Lloyd’s death.
The indictment comes after a bail reduction hearing Thursday for another co-defendant, Ernest Wallace, in Fall River, Massachusetts, revealed new details in the murder case against Hernandez.
Bristol County prosecutors, according to spokesman Gregg Miliote, told a judge that Hernandez was the only one who got out of a car with Lloyd in a deserted industrial park on June 17, before Lloyd was allegedly shot multiple times, execution-style, by Hernandez.
That’s different from an earlier scenario laid out by investigators.
At first, Ortiz allegedly told investigators that Wallace and Hernandez got out of the car with Lloyd before shots were fired.
Since then, prosecutors say, Ortiz changed his story.
“Initially Mr. Ortiz’s statement was Mr. Wallace got out of the car and now his statement is that Mr. Wallace stayed in the car,” Sutter said outside of court Thursday.
When asked by a reporter if he was concerned about the fact that Ortiz had changed his story, he replied: “Not at all.”
Ortiz’s lawyer, John Connors, said it is not uncommon for a witness’s story to change.
“Almost every case I’ve ever been involved in, the story changes during interrogation,” Connors said. “When a professional interrogation takes place, at the end of it sometimes you have trouble remembering your own name.”
Connors stopped short of using the word credible to describe his client.
“He’s a young guy who got caught up in a situation, and when all this came about, he was frightened and confused, as you can imagine anyone would be,” Connors said. “I believe he’s an honest guy.”
Ortiz will enter a plea of not guilty to the new charge, his attorney said.
Wallace also has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder.
At the Thursday hearing, a judge refused to reduce Wallace’s $500,000 bail, despite attorney David Meier’s insistence that his client has “every intention” and “every incentive to appear at every court hearing.”
In court, the district attorney’s office also disclosed that Hernandez allegedly made several phone calls to Wallace after Lloyd’s body was discovered.
“Mr. Hernandez … immediately makes cell phone telephone calls to Mr. Wallace upon police arriving at his house,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg told the judge.
Hernandez was not arrested until 10 days after the slaying.
Wallace turned himself in to police in Miramar, Florida, at his family’s home more than a week later after taking a bus to Florida from Georgia.
During Thursday’s bail hearing, prosecutors told a judge that Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Singleton, drove Wallace to Georgia, and when her car broke down, bought him a bus ticket to the go the rest of the way.
Singleton remains jailed after being indicted for contempt of court. She’s been charged with refusing to testify before a grand jury.
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