An associate of jailed NFL star Aaron Hernandez — who was with him the night a semipro football player was shot to death — pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of accessory to murder after the fact.
Carlos Ortiz, 27, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail during a brief hearing that provided no new details about the homicide case prosecutors are building against Hernandez for the June 17 shooting death of pal Odin Lloyd.
Ortiz was initially detained on a gun possession charge, and court documents indicated that he was cooperating with investigators. Last month, prosecutors hit him with the accessory charge and revealed that he had tweaked his account of the night in question.
Initially, Ortiz told police that he saw Hernandez and another associate, Ernest Wallace, get out of a Nissan with Lloyd and then heard gunshots, documents show. He said Wallace later told him Hernandez pulled the trigger.
His revised story is that only Hernandez was along with Lloyd before the shooting, prosecutors said in court last month. They downplayed the significance of the change.
Wallace, 41, has also been charged as an accessory after the fact.
Prosecutors allege that Hernandez, 23, orchestrated the murder of Lloyd, 27, because he was angry about some people he had been talking to at a club.
The former New England Patriot has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
His fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, 24, was in court earlier this week to plead not guilty to a charge of perjury.
Prosecutors say she lied to a grand jury about not remembering where she ditched a box — thought to be a gun safe — that Hernandez asked her to retrieve and dispose of after the murder.
Hernandez's cousin, Tanya Singleton, 37, is charged with conspiracy for allegedly helping Wallace flee to Florida. She has pleaded not guilty.
Meanwhile, Hernandez remains the subject of two other shooting investigations: a 2012 drive-by in Boston that left two immigrants dead, and a February incident in Miami in which Alexander Bradley lost an eye. Bradley, who has filed a civil suit, claims Hernandez shot him after they left a strip club.
First published October 18 2013, 12:23 PM