01:11 - Source: WCVB
Friend of Aaron Hernandez takes plea deal
CNN —  

The last co-defendant of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez was sentenced Monday for his role in the 2013 death of Odin Lloyd, Massachusetts prosecutors said.

Carlos Ortiz, 30, changed his not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Ortiz, according to a news release.

Ortiz was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 7 years in prison, bringing an end to criminal proceedings in Odin’s death.

“Odin Lloyd was a young man who had his whole life ahead of him,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in the release. “He did not deserve to fall victim to the brutal and truly senseless murder committed by Aaron Hernandez and covered up by his co-defendants.”

Carlos Ortiz
Carlos Ortiz

Hernandez, Ortiz, and Ernest Wallace, friends from Bristol, Connecticut, were each initially charged with murder in Odin’s death.

A jogger found Lloyd’s body riddled with gunshots on June 17, 2013, in an industrial park one mile from Hernandez’s house. Prosecutors said Lloyd was seen alive around 2:30 a.m. that day in a rented silver Nissan Altima with the three men. Surveillance camera footage showed the Altima pulling into the park. Moments later, Hernandez shot Lloyd multiple times in an execution style murder, prosecutors said.

A marijuana blunt was found near Lloyd’s body with Hernandez’s DNA on it along with a white towel that Ortiz was seen wearing in surveillance video earlier in the evening.

The exact motive for the murder remains unclear.

Hernandez, 26, was convicted in April 2015 of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Wallace, 41, was acquitted of murder in May but found guilty of accessory after the fact to murder. Like Ortiz, he was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 7 years.

Though Ortiz made several false statements during police questioning, the DA’s office concluded “the evidence established much less of a connection between Ortiz and Hernandez.”

Throughout the Hernandez and Wallace trials, evidence placed Ortiz and Wallace with Hernandez when he shot Lloyd. Hernandez’s home surveillance video showed the three men returning to his home. Hernandez was carrying what prosecutors contend was the murder weapon.

Surveillance camera footage from Aaron Hernandez's home
Surveillance camera footage from Aaron Hernandez's home

Hours after the murder, the same surveillance video showed the three friends sunbathing by the pool and drinking smoothies.

Fighting back tears, Odin’s mother Ursula Ward told the court Monday that she forgives the men who killed her son.

“I hope and pray that one day they can forgive themselves for taking the love of my life,” she said, according to CNN affiliate WCVB.

Hernandez is awaiting trial in Boston for the murders of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Hernandez is accused of murdering them after one of the men bumped into him on the dance floor of a Boston nightclub, causing him to spill his drink.

CNN’s John Newsome and Laura Dolan contributed to this report.