A man linked to the murder case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez told police Hernandez admitted firing the fatal shots, and a vehicle wanted in a double killing in Boston a year before had been rented in Hernandez's name, according to documents filed Tuesday in Florida that provide the most damning evidence yet against the star athlete.
The documents say Hernandez associate Carlos Ortiz told Massachusetts investigators that another man, Ernest Wallace, said Hernandez admitted shooting semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass. The documents were filed in Broward Circuit Court by the Miramar Police Department to justify a search of Wallace's home in Miramar.
Wallace, 41, turned himself in to Miramar Police on June 28, and was turned over to Massachusetts officials last Friday. He pleaded not guilty to accessory to murder after the fact at his arraignment in Massachusetts on Monday, and will be held without bail until another hearing on July 22.
The documents say that while investigating Lloyd's killing, police did searches in Hernandez's hometown, Bristol, Conn., that turned up a vehicle wanted in connection with a July 2012 double homicide in Boston. Police say the vehicle had been rented in Hernandez's name.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in Lloyd's killing. His legal team did not return email messages Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Hernandez, Wallace and another man drove with Lloyd to an industrial park where Lloyd was fatally shot.
Ortiz told police that during the drive Hernandez told Lloyd that Lloyd had been "chilling" with people Hernandez had problems with, the documents say. But Ortiz told police the two men shook hands and the problem seemed smoothed over. However, the Altima soon stopped, and everyone but Ortiz got out to urinate, according to Ortiz's account.
The witness told police he then heard gunshots before Hernandez and Wallace got back into the car without Lloyd and the car sped away.
Ortiz said he couldn't see who fired the shots because it was dark. Back at Hernandez's home, Ortiz said, Wallace asked him to get a small gun out from under the driver's seat. Ortiz said he did and gave it to Hernandez once they were inside.
Ortiz said he then went to sleep. When he woke up in the afternoon, according to his account, the three men returned the Altima and rented a Chrysler 300 before returning to Hernandez's home. Ortiz and Wallace then went to an apartment in the area that Hernandez and other football players used. Wallace let Ortiz in before leaving for a long time, the documents say. The two then drove to Bristol. Ortiz told police Wallace said Hernandez shot Lloyd.
The gun used in the killing has not been found.
Hernandez, Wallace and Ortiz appear linked through Bristol. Wallace told police in Florida that he grew up with Hernandez's father. Ortiz's attorney, John Connors, said Tuesday his client, who's athletic and around the age of Hernandez's older brother, is from Bristol.
Meanwhile, eight search warrants were unsealed in Massachusetts after news organizations sought access to the records. The warrants reveal the breadth of the investigation, with authorities scouring through everything from Hernandez’s house to his phone to the contents of his team locker, which the Patriots emptied into a container after they released him.
Police seized a rifle and ammunition found in Hernandez's home.
According to the documents, Hernandez became "argumentative" during his first encounter with police at his home following Lloyd's death. He asked, "What's with all the questions?" and locked the door behind him.
He then returned with his attorney's business card but didn't respond when police told him they were investigating a death.
"Mr. Hernandez slammed the door and relocked it behind him," the records read. "Mr. Hernandez did not ask officers whose death was being investigated. Mr. Hernandez's demeanor did not indicate any concern for the death of any person."
Hernandez came out later and agreed to be questioned at a police station, according to the documents.
The documents also say Hernandez called his girlfriend's cell phone and stopped her from speaking with police after they pulled her over and told her Lloyd was dead.
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