Co-defendants of Former NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Appear in Court on Murder Charges

Carlos Ortiz (L), Aaron Hernandez (C), Ernest Wallace (R
Carlos Ortiz (L), Aaron Hernandez (C), Ernest Wallace (R

An attorney for a man who was charged with murder along with ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez argued Friday that police coerced him to answer questions in the investigation and the information should not be allowed into evidence.

Defense attorney John Connors said at a hearing on a motion to suppress that police acted improperly when they questioned Carlos Ortiz about the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Police misstated the Miranda warning and used coercive tactics, suggesting Ortiz was being used by Hernandez, the defense said.

“We believe he did ask for an attorney and that was not followed up on,” Connors said. “We believe the tactics were coercive. We believe it was not a voluntary waiver. We believe he was coerced into taking a lie-detector test. Pretty much on every possible way they were wrong.”

Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, a third defendant, have pleaded not guilty to murder charges. Hernandez was convicted of the killing in April and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors say Ortiz and Wallace helped Hernandez carry out the killing.

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. John Moran acknowledged in court Friday that he suggested to Ortiz during questioning that Ortiz was a “patsy” or the “throwaway guy” for Hernandez.

Judge Susan Garsh did not make a decision on the defense request. The hearing is to continue Tuesday.

Ortiz appeared in Bristol County Superior Court after an earlier appearance with Wallace for a status conference. It was their first time in court since Hernandez was convicted.

The parties discussed trial schedules for the two men, who will be tried separately.

Prosecutors said Ortiz’s trial will take about four to six weeks and Wallace’s trial will take about six to eight weeks.

Wallace’s attorneys requested a Feb. 1 trial date. But the judge suggested pushing the date to March 1 because of her schedule. Ortiz’s trial would start sometime late next spring.

SOURCE: The Associated Press

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