Friend and co-defendant of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Ortiz, may not have to face trial. Ortiz’s lawyer John J. Connor confirmed on Friday that talks are underway with the prosecutors regarding a possible plea deal.
According to court records, a change of plea hearing has been scheduled by both parties at the Fall River Superior Court. The status reviews that were slated for this month stood cancelled.
In June 2013, Hernandez was arrested on charges of Odin Lloyd’s murder along with Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, the Herald News reported. Lloyd’s body was discovered in the North Attleborough Industrial Park, which is about a quarter mile from Hernandez’s lavish North Attleborough home.
According to the prosecutors, the trio drove Lloyd from his home in Dorchester to the location from where his body was discovered and shot him five times at point blank range.
Florida attorney Jose Baez and his team of legal and forensic experts will be representing Hernandez.
“I can now confirm that my firm has been retained to represent Mr. Aaron Hernandez in his upcoming trial,’’ the Boston Globe quoted a statement by Baez. “Mr. Hernandez strongly maintains his innocence, and I plan to establish that before a jury of his peers. I have fully committed myself to ensuring a fair and just trial for Mr. Hernandez.’’
He added, “To accomplish this, I have assembled the best legal team in the country to serve as co-counsel.”
The Sun Chronicle reported that, in April 2015, Hernandez was found guilty of a first degree murder. He is now serving a life sentence without parole. Though the court absolved Wallace of the murder charges last month, he was found to be an accessory and was given a prison sentence of up to 7 years.
Wallace’s lawyer said in defense that his client had no clue what would happen that night, without disputing the fact that he was with Hernandez at the time of the murder.
“It was Aaron Hernandez who shot and killed Odin Lloyd,” Wallace’s defense attorney David Meier said.