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Ortiz pleads not guilty to being murder accessory in Odin Lloyd death

By Lawrence Crook III and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 4:07 PM EDT, Fri October 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities say Carlos Ortiz was with Aaron Hernandez when they picked up Odin Lloyd
  • Lloyd was found killed in an industrial park; Hernandez is charged with murder in case
  • Ortiz pleads not guilty on a charge of being an accessory to murder after the fact
  • Ortiz's lawyer doesn't contest the $500,000 bail, though he could so later

Fall River, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A man who allegedly was with Aaron Hernandez the night Odin Lloyd was killed pleaded not guilty Friday to a single count of being an accessory to murder after the fact.

As members of his and Lloyd's family looked on, Carlos Ortiz uttered only those two words -- "not guilty" -- during his brief arraignment in Bristol County Superior Court in the southeastern Massachusetts city of Fall River. His next court date is set for November 20.

Ortiz is one of several people who have been charged in connection with Lloyd's death, though only one person -- Hernandez, who was a standout tight end for the New England Patriots before being released by the team the day of his arrest -- faces a murder count.

Like Hernandez, Ortiz hails from Bristol, Connecticut.

During Friday's court hearing, Ortiz's lawyer John Connors did not contest the $500,000 cash bail set for his client, though he could do so later.

"We don't have the grand jury minutes, we don't have a lot of the discovery statements, etc. So I think it's prudent to wait for the next date until we argue (bail)," Connors said.

Authorities have said that Hernandez, Ernest Wallace and Ortiz picked Lloyd up from his Boston apartment in a rental car shortly before he was found shot to death June 17 in a North Attleborough, Massachusetts, industrial park.

Surveillance cameras then captured the rental car leaving the crime scene and Hernandez carrying a gun as he returned to his home minutes later. He was with two other people. Lloyd -- a 27-year-old semi-pro football player himself -- was not among them.

Ortiz first told investigators both Hernandez and Wallace had gotten out of the car with Lloyd at the industrial park, before shots rang out. But prosecutors say he later changed his story to claim Wallace remained in the car, while Hernandez and Lloyd got out.

Asked last month about Ortiz changing his account, his attorney said, "Almost every case I've ever been involved in, the story changes during interrogation.

"When a professional interrogation takes place, at the end of it sometimes you have trouble remembering your own name."

Connors said his client had "limited means" and would seek a relatively low bail.

"He's a young guy who got caught up in a situation," Connors said. "And when all this came about, he was frightened and confused, as you can imagine anyone would be. I believe he's an honest guy."

CNN's Lawrence Crook III reported from Fall River, and CNN's Greg Botelho reported and wrote this story from Atlanta. CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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