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Conn. man arraigned in Hernandez murder case

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 4:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 4:20 p.m. CDT

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — A man arrested in Connecticut in connection with the murder case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with a weapons count, and investigators said a third suspect was arrested Friday in south Florida.

Massachusetts State Police said local officers in Miramar, Fla., captured Ernest Wallace early Friday afternoon, hours after a Connecticut judge ordered Carlos Ortiz turned over to Massachusetts authorities.

New Britain State's attorney said 27-year-old Ortiz was arrested in Bristol on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the slaying of Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez is charged with murder in the slaying of Lloyd near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

Ortiz was picked up in Connecticut for being a fugitive from justice. He was arraigned Friday afternoon in Massachusetts on a charge of carrying a firearm without a license in North Attleborough on June 17, the day Lloyd was killed.

Authorities had revealed Thursday night that they were seeking Wallace, who they said should be considered armed and dangerous, on a charge of acting as an accessory after Lloyd's murder.

Investigators have said Hernandez was with two other men the night of the killing, but they haven't identified them.

Police arrested the 23-year-old Hernandez on Wednesday at his Massachusetts mansion and charged him with orchestrating Lloyd's execution-style shooting, allegedly because the victim had talked to the wrong people at a nightclub.

A judge denied Hernandez's bail appeal Thursday in a Massachusetts courtroom, where a prosecutor said a Hummer belonging to Hernandez turned up an ammunition clip matching the caliber of casings found at the scene of Lloyd's killing.

Hernandez's lawyer argued his client is not a risk to flee and the case against him is circumstantial.

On June 16, the night before the slaying, a prosecutor said, Hernandez texted two unidentified friends and asked them to hurry to Massachusetts from Connecticut.

A few minutes later, he texted Lloyd to tell him he wanted to get together, the prosecutor said. Authorities say the three picked up Lloyd at around 2:30 a.m. June 17, drove him to an industrial park near Hernandez's home and shot him five times. They have not said who fired the shots.

Meanwhile, 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.

Before Ortiz's arraignment in North Attleborough, his attorney, John Connors, said he had spoken to his client for the first time Friday. Connors declined to comment when asked whether Ortiz was cooperating with authorities or whether he knew anything about Lloyd's death.

At Ortiz's court hearing in Bristol earlier in the day, there was no mention of any other allegations against him, no reference to Hernandez and no discussion of Lloyd's homicide.

A friend and a relative of Ortiz said outside the courthouse that they were surprised by his arrest. They said Ortiz is the devoted father of two girls and a boy, all under the age of 9. Ortiz was unemployed recently, but previously worked a long time at a Savers clothing store, they said.

They also said they couldn't believe Ortiz could be part of a murder.

"He's not that type of person. He has a good heart," said friend Milton Montesdeoca, 24, of Bristol, who added he didn't know Hernandez and never heard Ortiz talk about the football star.

The Patriots, who cut Hernandez following his arrest, drafted him in 2010 and signed him last summer to a five-year contract worth $40 million.

He could face life in prison if convicted.

___

Collins reported from Bristol, Conn. Associated Press writers Michelle R. Smith in Fall River, Mass., and Bridget Murphy in Boston contributed to this report.

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