The last suspect accused of joining former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez on a late-night drive ending in the execution-style slaying of Dorchester’s Odin Lloyd turned himself in Friday at a Florida police station, capping a turbulent week in the spectacular fall of a Boston sports star.
A day after Massachusetts police plastered his face on a wanted poster, 41-year-old Ernest Wallace of Miramar, Fla., walked into his local police department, told officers he had seen his name in the news, and asked for a lawyer, according to Miramar police.
Massachusetts authorities had been seeking Wallace as a possible accessory in the killing of Lloyd, who was found shot to death almost two weeks ago in a North Attleborough industrial park near Hernandez’s home.
Authorities have charged Hernandez, a once promising NFL tight end, with weapons violations and first-degree murder in Lloyd’s killing. He is being held without bail at the Bristol County Jail after pleading innocent this week.
Hernandez is also being investigated for a 2012 double homicide in Boston’s South End, in which two men were killed in a drive-by shooting. Boston police on Friday seized a car in Connecticut as potential evidence in those killings.
Prosecutors say they can link Hernandez to Lloyd’s killing through video footage from a number of security cameras, including from Hernandez’s home protection system.
The footage allegedly shows 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 Nissan Altima, 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 park.
“We believe . . . that we now have in custody three individuals who were in the silver Nissan Altima at the time that Odin Lloyd got into the car,” Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter told reporters Friday.
“It certainly sounds like they believe Hernandez is the shooter,” said Ann McGonigle Santos, a Suffolk University law professor and former prosecutor at the Middlesex district attorney’s office. “And if they believe Hernandez is the shooter and the mastermind, prosecutors might cut a deal with the other men.”
With all three men in custody, McGonigle Santos said investigators will now focus on finding the weapon used in the shooting, still unaccounted for. But even if they cannot recover it, she added, the evidence already revealed in court seems persuasive.
The Patriots dropped Hernandez from the team Wednesday, about 90 minutes after his arrest. His name was quickly scrubbed from the team’s website. The Patriots went even further on Friday to cut ties, announcing a free exchange of number 81 Hernandez jerseys at the team’s pro shop in Foxborough on July 6-7.
Ortiz appeared in Attleboro District Court Friday afternoon on a weapons charge, showing no emotion. A not guilty plea was entered for him and he was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on July 9.
Sutter declined to say if Ortiz or Wallace are cooperating with police, but did say more charges are possible.
Ortiz’s court-appointed lawyer, John J. Connors, said he will seek bail for his client at his hearing.
“Our position is that the incident didn’t occur,” Connors said, speaking of the gun charge his client faces. He said Ortiz seems like “a gentle person who is confused as to how he’s in this situation.”
The defense lawyer would not say whether Ortiz is cooperating, and declined to comment about a State Police affidavit stating his client admitted to possessing a gun in North Attleborough on June 17, the day Lloyd was killed.
Lloyd’s link with Hernandez may date to 2011, when Lloyd met his girlfriend — the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée — while Lloyd was in an apprentice program with NStar and was sent to Connecticut for training, said Mike Branch, the football defensive coordinator for O’Bryant High School and the amateur Boston Bandits football team, on which Lloyd played linebacker.
“I don’t know what part of Connecticut [she was from], but I know he definitely spent a lot of time there, because I was like ‘get your butt to practice,’ ’’ the coach recalled. “He didn’t have time for the fellows.”
A funeral will be held for Lloyd Saturday morning at the Church of the Holy Spirit, an Episcopal congregation in Mattapan.
“My son died a king,” said Ursula Ward, his mother. “He is my hero. He’s the love of my life.”
Early Friday morning, Boston police searched Hernandez’s sprawling home on Ronald C. Meyer Drive, looking for evidence that could connect Hernandez to the killings of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado. The friends who grew up in Cape Verde were slain in a fusillade of bullets on July 16, 2012, in the South End as they drove home from a Boston nightclub, Cure, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.
Abreu, driving a BMW sedan, had stopped at a traffic light when a silver or gray SUV with Rhode Island plates pulled alongside and someone inside opened fire.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said Boston police seized a silver SUV Friday with Rhode Island plates in Hernandez’s hometown of Bristol, Conn., in connection to the investigation into the double homicide.
Multiple law enforcement officials said the investigation is heating up, with investigators conducting new interviews and reexamining evidence collected at the crime scene, including ballistic evidence.
Maria Teixeira, Furtado’s mother, stood in her apartment Friday and clutched the top of her head, with a look of anguish. “I haven’t slept since this was brought up again and I have headaches,” she said, speaking in Cape Verdean Creole.
Isidora Centeio, 31, Furtado’s cousin, said that while the renewed focus on the double homicide has “opened old wounds,” the slain man’s family is hopeful justice will be served.
Hernandez is also being sued in federal court in Florida by an associate who says the football player shot him in the face in February, leaving him disfigured and half-blind.
Just two weeks before that shooting, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Alexander Bradley, 30, of East Hartford, Conn., was charged with drunk driving by Massachusetts State Police — with Hernandez apparently in the car — after fleeing a trooper in a harrowing drive down Interstate 93 that reached 105 miles per hour, according to the criminal case file.
The highway drama began when a state trooper on patrol on 93 southbound in Boston noted a black Yukon SUV stopped on the highway at 2:20 a.m. on Jan. 28, the weekend after the Patriots lost the AFC title game to the Baltimore Ravens. When the trooper pulled up, the Yukon took off, “swerving violently over the right two lanes and shaking the entire vehicle,” according to the police report.
When the trooper stopped the SUV near Exit 8 in Quincy, the front passenger yelled out, “Trooper, I’m Aaron Hernandez — it’s OK,” according to the report.
Bradley, who failed sobriety tests, according to the file, told the arresting officer he had been drinking at Cure — the nightclub visited by the victims of the 2012 drive-by shooting the night they were gunned down.
Hernandez is next due in court July 24 for a probable cause hearing.
globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark. Wesley Lowery can be reached at Wesley.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.