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Judge orders Aaron Hernandez case evidence documents to be released

By Susan Candiotti and Laura Dolan, CNN
updated 11:51 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Papers about evidence collected in Aaron Hernandez case should be released, judge says
  • Ruling stems from filing from several media outlets requesting the papers, available Tuesday
  • Hernandez's defense team opposes the ruling and has the option to appeal
  • Hernandez is charged with premeditated murder in the slaying of Odin Lloyd

(CNN) -- A Massachusetts judge ruled Monday that the public should know exactly what investigators seized from the home of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who has been charged with murder in the death of a friend.

Bristol County District Judge Daniel O'Shea ordered the documents to be made available Tuesday afternoon.

The documents to be released include search warrants, police affidavits explaining what they were looking for and what was taken away as possible evidence.

Hernandez has been charged with premeditated murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, 27. He has pleaded not guilty.

O'Shea ruled in favor of a motion filed by media outlets including the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts; the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Massachusetts; and the Associated Press.

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Defense attorneys representing Aaron Hernandez opposed the motion. They can appeal the court's decision.

In court papers, lawyers for the media argued "the press's (sic) 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 last month, prosecutors said they had examined his cell phone and 14-camera home surveillance system.

Authorities have said Hernandez, 23, 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, authorities have said.

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.

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A prosecutor told a judge in Attleboro, Massachusetts, 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. He pleaded not guilty. 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.

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.

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"It's an excellent question," Sutter said. "But I'm not going to comment one way or the other at this point."

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, Massachusetts, 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.

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.

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