A Florida man embroiled in the murder case against former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez on Monday waived his right to contest extradition to Massachusetts in the sensational case, according to an assistant for the Broward County judge who presided at the hearing in South Florida.
Ernest Wallace, 41, of Miramar, Fla., appeared before Judge John Hurley, who accepted Wallace’s extradition waiver, clearing the way for Wallace to be returned to Massachusetts to face a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
He is likely to be arraigned in Attleboro District Court by the end of the week, according to a spokesperson for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter.
Wallace turned himself in Friday at a Florida police station after seeing news reports that said authorities considered him to be armed and dangerous and were looking for him in connection with the Hernandez case.
Hernandez, 23, a once-promising NFL tight end, is charged with weapons violations and first-degree murder in the execution-style slaying of Odin L. Lloyd of Dorchester, who was found dead June 17 in a North Attleborough industrial park near Hernandez’s home.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held without bail at the Bristol County Jail. Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said today that Hernandez is “acclimating very well…he does not appear to be nervous.”
Authorities at the jail today reviewed Hernandez’s classification as a prisoner, and gave him some access to common areas in his unit when they are vacant, said Hodgson. Hernandez is not yet permitted to have direct contact with other prisoners, as the famous former professional athlete is slowly acclimated to prison life, he said. His status will be reviewed again in a week.
Officers at the prison have reviewed Hernandez’s tattoos for evidence of gang ties, as is customary with incoming prisoners, Hodgson said. He would not reveal what the review found.
Prosecutors say they can link Hernandez to Lloyd’s killing through video footage from a number of security cameras, including from Hernandez’s own home protection system, which allegedly show the former Patriot and two other men, believed to be Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, 27, of Bristol, Conn., picking up Lloyd in Dorchester early June 17 in a rented car, and then driving into the industrial park about an hour later.
Lloyd’s body, shot five times, was discovered by a jogger later that day in a secluded section of the industrial park, officials said.
Hernandez is also being investigated for a July 2012 double homicide in Boston’s South End, in which two men died in a drive-by shooting, law enforcement officials have told the Globe. And he is being sued in federal court in Florida by a Connecticut man who claims Hernandez shot him in the face in February after an argument at a Miami strip club. Hernandez had not yet filed a response to the lawsuit today.
Ortiz pleaded not guilty last week to illegally possessing a weapon in North Attleborough and is being held without bail pending a hearing July 9. His lawyer, John Connors, today said he could not comment on the case.
Wallace’s lawyer, David Meier, could not be reached for comment.