Two months ago, Aaron Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. While the professional football player has been at the center of the news stories, several others have been involved in his recent legal battles.
One of the main components to the Hernandez trial is the friends and associates of the former New England Patriots tight end. Ever since he was recruited to play college football at Florida and entered the NFL Draft, there have been concerns about the company that Hernandez has kept. Now, the 23-year-old has been accused of murder, and his acquaintances are directly involved.
Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz are the accomplices that allegedly were with Hernandez at the time of Lloyd’s death. Ortiz, though, may be turning on his friends to protect himself. According to USA Today, Ortiz will likely seek immunity and witness protection, in exchange for information about the murder.
Authorities have security footage of Hernandez and his cohorts driving to and leaving the scene of the crime. However, they have no witnesses and have yet to obtain the murder weapon. If the search for the gun that killed Lloyd continues to be fruitless, Ortiz’s testimony could be the key for the prosecution.
Hernandez’s attorneys will try to discredit the validity of what Ortiz has to say, if he does snitch. He’s a criminal who has admitted to using drugs recently, even telling his probation officer that he’d been "abusing PCP, alcohol and THC daily.” His motive to stay out of prison is obvious, which could bring his statements against Hernandez into question.
Despite his involvement, Ortiz has yet to be charged as an accessory after the fact. The same can’t be said for Wallace, who has his next court hearing scheduled for Sept.23. He pled not guilty and is being held on $500,000 bail.
Wallace, who has served multiple stints in jail throughout his life, was Hernandez’s bodyguard. The football player put his friend up in an apartment in Massachusetts. The 41-year-old’s attorney indicated that Ortiz might have shot Lloyd, not Hernandez.
Besides than his two friends, Hernandez’s cousin is also involved in the case. Tanya Cumming-Singleton was indicted on charges of being in criminal contempt of court. She refused to testify in front of a grand jury, after allegedly buying Wallace a bus ticket after the murder.