FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A man accused of helping out former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez after he allegedly orchestrated a murder pleaded not guilty Thursday to an accessory charge.
Ernest Wallace appeared in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River and will continue to be held on $500,000 bail until a Sept. 26 bail hearing.
Wallace was ordered held on $500,000 bail last month in district court after being indicted by a Bristol grand jury on a charge of being an accessory to murder after the fact.
On Thursday, Wallace’s defense attorney asked for time to review the grand jury’s minutes.
Police have said Wallace and Carlos Ortiz were with Hernandez the night he arranged the shooting of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found by a jogger June 17 in North Attleborough, not far from Hernandez’s home.
Authorities say Lloyd was killed with a .45-caliber Glock, which hasn’t been recovered. They haven’t identified the triggerman, but according to court documents, Ortiz told police that Wallace said it was Hernandez. Prosecutors say they have video footage of Hernandez at his home in the hours before and after the shooting holding what appears to be a Glock.
Hernandez’s attorney say the case against their client is circumstantial and predict he’ll be exonerated.
Prosecutors have said Wallace, who is from Bristol, Conn., had no job and no fixed address and that Hernandez appeared to be supporting him. They said Wallace has been described as Hernandez’s right-hand man, and in the months before the killing had been spending more time at his house, and using a car Hernandez rented for him.
A recent affidavit says that after Lloyd’s killing, Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Singleton bought a bus ticket for Wallace, and he went to Florida. He later surrendered there.
Singleton was later indicted on a criminal contempt charge and is being held without bail.
Prosecutors say she refused to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in the case, even after they offered her immunity.