Key figure in Odin Lloyd murder investigation pleads not guilty and is held without bail
ATTLEBORO — In a brief hearing where no new information about the murder of Odin L. Lloyd was made public, Ernest Wallace today pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder and was ordered held without bail.
During the highly anticipated arraignment, Bristol County prosecutors asked that paperwork involving Wallace be impounded, a request prosecutors have also made for court papers detailing former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez’s alleged role in the killing of Lloyd.
Judge Robert Harbour ordered Wallace held without bail and also ordered that documents relating to Wallace be impounded.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and firearms charges and is currently being held without bail at the Bristol County Jail. Lloyd, 27, was an acquaintance of Hernandez, who authorities allege “orchestrated’’ the murder of the Dorchester man on June 17 in North Attleborough.
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, in comments to reporters after the Wallace hearing, cautioned against anyone concluding that investigators believe Hernandez was the sole shooter during Lloyd’s murder.
“All we’ve done at this time is we’ve charged Aaron Hernandez with murder,’’ Sutter said. “As far as the specifics about who was the shooter, who might have been a joint venturer, it’s too early to say. The investigation is ongoing.’’
Wallace is due back in court July 22, two days before Hernandez’s next court appearance, Sutter noted.
Flanked by his defense attorney, David Meier, Wallace was silent during the brief hearing, but as he left the courtroom was seen mouthing, “I love you,” to someone sitting in the public area of the courtroom.
Meier did not speak during the two-minute hearing.
Meanwhile, a Sutter spokesman said that a judge has lifted the impoundment order on the search warrants that provided authorities with the right to search Hernandez’s North Attleborough home last month.
The judge stayed his order until 2 p.m. Tuesday, giving prosecutors time to appeal if they want. But Sutter said he will not fight the release of those records.
“We opposed the release of those and now the judge has released them,’’ Sutter said. “We accept that.’’
Wallace, 41, surrendered to police in Miramar, Fla., where he had gone to visit relatives, is currently charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder and has not been charged with killing Lloyd.
Wallace is one of three men who Sutter has said were in the car with Lloyd on June 17, hours before he was shot and killed in an industrial park in North Attleborough about a mile from Hernandez’s house.
For six days after the connection between Hernandez, Lloyd, and Lloyd’s murder became public, a phalanx of reporters, cameramen, and newscasters parked across the street from his home on Ronald C. Meyer Drive. And when he was arrested June 26, Hernandez was led out of the house in handcuffs.
Today, Meyer Drive is quiet without any media or police activity, and a browning lawn suggests that Hernandez’s home is not getting the same level of care as it did prior to the arrest.
Hernandez is also being investigated for the July 2012 murders of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Hernandez has not been charged in that double murder.
The third man authorities allege was in the car, Carlos Ortiz, 27, of Connecticut, has pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful carrying of a firearm on June 17, the date of Lloyd’s murder. Ortiz is allegedly seen on security cameras walking into Hernandez’s home armed with a handgun.
A dangerousness hearing is set for Tuesday in Attleboro District Court, although Sutter hinted it might not go forward.
Odin Lloyd’s aunt, on her way to an SUV parked in front of the courthouse, declined to comment, saying, “We’ll wait until this is all over.”Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.