Judge orders release of evidence in murder case against Aaron Hernandez
|07.08.13 at 10:23 pm ET|
Bristol County District Judge Daniel O’Shea ruled Monday that documents and possible evidence seized from the home of Aaron Hernandez should be made available to the public. O’Shea ruled that the documents be made available as early as Tuesday afternoon.
The order includes search warrants, police affidavits explaining what they were looking for and what was taken away as possible evidence.
Hernandez has plead not guilty to a charge of first-degree (premeditated) murder in the death of 27-year-old acquaintance Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty. Monday’s order comes after three news outlets, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, The Taunton Daily Gazette and the Associated Press, appealed for the release of the documents.
Defense attorneys representing Hernandez opposed the motion. They can appeal Monday’s decision.
In court papers, lawyers for the media argued “the press’s ability to keep the public informed is premised in large part on open access to the court system and on its ability to examine and report on public documents.”
At Hernandez’s arraignment on June 26, prosecutors said they had examined his cell phone and the 14 cameras in his home surveillance system.
Authorities have said the 23-year-old Hernandez and two other men picked Lloyd up from his Boston apartment early on June 17. Surveillance cameras captured the car at an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home. Lloyd’s body was found in the industrial park later that day, according to authorities.
Also on Monday, Ernest Wallace, one of two men who police say was in the car with Hernandez the night Lloyd was killed, agreed to be held without bail pending his next hearing.
A prosecutor told a judge in Attleboro, that Wallace had accepted the decision in the presence of his lawyer, David Meier. Meier declined to comment to reporters. Wallace winked at his family and appeared to mouth the words “I love you” but was not asked to address the court.
Wallace is charged with accessory after the fact to murder. It’s not clear whether he has entered a not-guilty plea. His next hearing is scheduled for July 22.
Another man who police say was in the car the night of Lloyd’s slaying, Carlos Ortiz, is already being held without bail and has pleaded not guilty to a weapons charge. Ortiz has a status hearing scheduled for Tuesday, but prosecutors say if Ortiz agrees to continue to be held without bail, the hearing will likely be canceled.
At a news conference after Wallace’s court hearing, Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter declined to directly answer a question from CNN about whether Wallace or Ortiz is cooperating with authorities.
“It’s an excellent question. But I’m not going to comment one way or the other at this point,” Sutter said.
A law enforcement source has told CNN that Ortiz is cooperating with investigators but declined to elaborate. In court papers, Ortiz allegedly told police that the day after Lloyd was killed, he and Hernandez went to a Franklin (Mass.) apartment leased by Hernandez. In the apartment, investigators say there was a “white colored hooded sweatshirt” similar to the one he was seen wearing on surveillance video the night of the killing.