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Aaron Hernandez accomplices arrested

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   June 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM   |   Comments

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June 30 (UPI) -- Three people, including former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, have now been arrested in connection to the murder of Odin Lloyd.

"We believe we have three individuals... and we're very pleased about that," said Bristol County, Mass., District attorney Sam Sutter.

Lloyd climbed into a car with Hernandez, Carlos Ortiz, 27, and Ernest Wallace in North Attleborough at 2:30 in the morning on June 17. A few hours later, Lloyd's body was found in a gravel pit, dead by a bullet from a .45-caliber gun.

Hernandez was arrested at his home Wednesday. On the same day, to far less fanfare, Ortiz was taken into custody in Bristol and charged as a fugitive from justice.

Ortiz pleaded not guilty to a charge of carrying a firearm without a licence, and would remain behind bars until a July 9 hearing, said his attorney, John Connors.

"Mr. Ortiz struck me as being a gentle person who is confused as to how he is in this situation," Connors said Friday, after meeting Ortiz for the first time. "We're going to try and prove he's not guilty."

Ernest Wallace turned himself in Friday in Miramar, Fla., after learning of an arrest warrant issued for him in Massachusetts. He was charged with accessory to murder before a Broward County, Fla., judge.

Surveillance cameras at a gas station captured image of the rented Nissan Altima, driven by Hernandez, with Lloyd, Ortiz and Wallace.

At 3:23 a.m., Lloyd sent a text message to his sister. "NFL. Just so you know," he wrote, alerting her to the company he kept.

Witnesses said they heard gunshots at 3:25 a.m.

Five minutes later, surveillance camera footage caught Hernandez carrying a gun as he arrived home, two others in tow. Lloyd was not with them.

After the car was returned to the rental company, investigators found a spent .45-caliber casing that matches the empty shells recovered near Lloyd's body. Also on the body of the victim: keys to the rental car registered in Hernandez's name.

Still, Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, and his attorney maintains the case being built by the prosecution won't stand.

"It is a circumstantial case," said Michael Fee, Hernandez's attorney. "It is not a strong case."

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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