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In Aaron Hernandez Case, Suspect Recounts Night Of Shooting

By DAVE ALTIMARI and JENNY WILSON, daltimar@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

6:37 PM EDT, July 10, 2013

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Carlos Ortiz walked into a Connecticut courthouse for a June 25 meeting with his probation officer prepared for bad news: The man who would ultimately be charged in connection with the Aaron Hernandez murder case had tested positive for PCP and faced a few months in prison.

But upon arriving at court in Bristol, Ortiz learned authorities were interested in a far more serious crime – the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a case in which he has emerged as a key witness for prosecutors building their case against the former New England Patriots star tight end.

According to just-released court records, Ortiz was met by Massachusetts State Police detectives, who wanted to know what the 27-year-old Bristol resident could tell them about the possible involvement of his friend Hernandez.

Ortiz, records show, recounted to police events of early June 17. He said he was in a car with Hernandez, Lloyd and Ernest Wallace, also charged in the slaying. The car, authorities have said, was parked in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass., when Lloyd — who was dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister — was shot.

Ortiz told police he fell asleep in the back seat after the group picked up Lloyd in Boston, and awoke when he saw the three other men get out to urinate. Ortiz told police he heard gunshots, but it was too dark to see who was firing, records related to the Wallace arrest that were unsealed in Florida indicate.

Hernandez and Wallace, who had driven to Massachusetts hours earlier with Ortiz, came running back into the car without Lloyd, Ortiz told police. The three men drove back to Hernandez's house, less than a mile away. At Wallace's request, Ortiz said, he removed a gun from under a seat in the car and brought it into the house where he handed it to Hernandez.

Video cameras captured footage of Hernandez holding a gun, which prosecutors believe to be the murder weapon, inside his house shortly after the shooting.

Ortiz said it wasn't until late in the afternoon the next day, after he and Wallace had returned to a Bristol home owned by Hernandez's uncle, that "Wallace told him that Hernandez admitted to shooting Mr. Lloyd," records indicate.

Wallace and Ortiz had been at the 114 Lake Ave. residence the day before the shooting and drove back there the day after in a Chrysler 300 Hernandez rented for them.

Hernandez, 23, a Bristol native, has been charged with murder and gun violations. Wallace, 41, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact. Ortiz, 27, is charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

Some of the documents sealed when Ortiz was presented in Bristol court two weeks ago were unsealed Wednesday. They shed more light on Ortiz's troubles with probation – from failed drug tests to missed appointments at treatment centers – than they do on the Lloyd shooting.

Although documents in the Hernandez investigation in Florida and Massachusetts have been unsealed in the past few days, Connecticut prosecutors filed a motion earlier this week to keep sealed for up to 90 days four search warrants executed in Bristol following the shooting.

Investigators have searched multiple locations in the state, including Ortiz's apartment at 78 Federal St. in Bristol, the 114 Lake Ave. home and a car found at that house that matched the description of one detectives had been looking for in connection to a 2012 double homicide in Boston. That car was rented by Hernandez.

The details of Ortiz's version of events on the night Lloyd was murdered are contained in an affidavit used by police to get a search warrant for the home of Angela Wallace, Ernest Wallace's mother, in Miramar, Fla.

Police were searching for the gun used in the shooting, and other evidence not found during their searches in Connecticut, such as clothes that Wallace may have worn and the cellphone he used that night to call Lloyd five times before he got into the car. Documents show investigators did not find a gun in the Florida home, although they confiscated clothes and two cellphones.

Like Ortiz, Wallace apparently didn't try hard to elude police after the murder. Wallace was seen by a neighbor swimming in the backyard pool at his mother's Florida home the day before he walked the half-mile from her house to the police station and turned himself in.

It is unclear if Wallace is cooperating with investigators. When he turned himself in, he told police he wanted to speak to them but his attorney had told him not to. The Bristol man, who said he grew up with Hernandez's father, made a brief court appearance earlier this week and is due back in court on July 22. Last August, Wallace admitted to violating probation after testing positive for PCP, cocaine, opiates and marijuana.

Court records indicate that Ortiz told police he and Wallace were hanging out on June 16 at the Lake Avenue house when, Ortiz said, Wallace told him Hernandez had texted him to come to his home in North Attleborough that night.

They arrived on Ronald C. Meyer Drive just after midnight. Hernandez and his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, were not home, Ortiz said, but the baby sitter let them in. Ortiz told authorities he saw two guns in the house. Hernandez was carrying a handgun when he finally came home from a Father's Day dinner with Jenkins, according to Ortiz. Jenkins, meanwhile, told police she went to bed early that night and did not know with whom Hernandez had gone out.

Ortiz said they drove off in the silver Nissan Altima that Hernandez had rented and eventually picked up Lloyd at his Boston home. On the way back to North Attleborough, Ortiz said, he overheard Hernandez telling Lloyd that Lloyd was "chilling with people that (Hernandez) had problems with."

Ortiz then said the two men made up by "shaking hands" and added that the beef "was squashed."

Lloyd's bullet-ridden body was found in the industrial park later that day.