By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI , Associated Press
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) _ Bail was set Friday at $500,000 cash for a so-called right-hand man of Aaron Hernandez who prosecutors say was with the former New England Patriots star on the night his friend was shot to death.
Ernest Wallace appeared in Attleboro District Court on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder in Odin Lloyd’s killing. Defense attorney David Meier had sought bail of $10,000, arguing Wallace wasn’t a flight risk and wanted to return to his family in Florida.
But Assistant District Attorney William McCauley asked for $1 million bail, saying Wallace was at risk of fleeing. He said Wallace had a long criminal history that included drug convictions and that he had used aliases and impersonated others.
Meier wouldn’t comment after court, including about whether his client expected to make bail. Wallace, who had previously pleaded not guilty, was taken back into custody following the hearing. Wallace, 41, did not speak during the proceeding, but mouthed “I love you” and “I miss you” to a woman watching in the courtroom.
Prosecutors were pleased with the bail, said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter.
Hernandez, 23, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston semi-professional football player whose body was found June 17 in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home. The two men were friends and Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.
Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd’s killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with at a nightclub days earlier. They say Hernandez, Wallace and a third man, Carlos Ortiz, drove with Lloyd to the industrial park. Authorities have not said who fired the shots, but according to documents filed in Florida, Ortiz told police that Wallace said it was Hernandez.
In court Friday, McCauley painted Wallace as having no fixed address and no job and said Hernandez appeared to be his “sole support.” He said Wallace has been described as Hernandez’s right-hand man, and that he had been spending more time at Hernandez’s house in the months before the killing, using a car Hernandez rented for him.
McCauley also said Hernandez’s aunt provided financial assistance to Wallace after Lloyd’s death as he made his way south to Miramar, Fla., where his parents live. Wallace later turned himself in to police in Miramar.
Friday’s hearing followed the release of court documents a day earlier that included photos of Hernandez in his home, holding what authorities have said was a gun, both before and minutes after Lloyd’s homicide. The photos came from Hernandez’s home video surveillance system and are among evidence authorities have obtained with search warrants.
Authorities believe Lloyd was killed with a .45-caliber Glock, which they have said hasn’t been recovered. Prosecutors have said that a gun Hernandez is seen holding in the home surveillance appears to be a Glock.
Authorities recovered an ammunition clip for .45-caliber bullets in Hernandez’s Hummer as well as ammunition of the same caliber inside a condo he rented in Franklin, Mass.
Prosecutors this week won a delay, to Aug. 22, for a probable cause hearing for Hernandez, saying they needed more time to present evidence to a grand jury. Hernandez will continue to be held without bail.
In the course of investigating Lloyd’s death, authorities found a vehicle at the home of Hernandez’s uncle in Bristol, Conn., Hernandez’s hometown, that was wanted in a 2012 double killing in Boston, according to the Florida records. It had been rented in Hernandez’s name.
Associated Press writer Bridget Murphy contributed to this report from Boston.
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