ATTLEBORO — Aaron Hernandez paused with his “right-hand man” Ernest Wallace as they got out of a rented car in the former New England Patriot’s driveway early on June 17, and began to discuss in the predawn darkness what to do with the gun that had just been used to kill a Dorchester man, a prosecutor said Friday.
“There was a conversation by the defendant and Aaron Hernandez about recovering the .22 [caliber firearm] that was in the vehicle,” said William McCauley, Bristol assistant district attorney, during a bail hearing for the 41-year-old Wallace. “That was done, and the two guns then went into the house — the .45 [caliber firearm] which was later determined to be the murder weapon, and the .22.”
Attleboro District Court Judge Daniel J. O’Shea ordered Wallace, who was charged earlier this month with accessory after the fact to murder, held on $500,000 cash bail. A conviction on that offense carries a seven-year maximum prison sentence. Wallace has pleaded not guilty.
As McCauley spoke, relatives of the victim, Odin Lloyd, cried and hugged one another. They declined to comment afterward.
Wallace, stood next to his attorney, David Meier, and showed no emotion as McCauley laid out a timeline of the slaying.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and possession of illegal weapons and is being held without bail.
He is also being investigated in connection with a July 2012 double homicide in Boston, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.
The two officials, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, said investigators now believe Lloyd may have had information about Hernandez’s role in those killings.
Wallace, who was unemployed, started spending more time at Hernandez’s house in recent months. Hernandez provided him with food and a rental car, a silver-colored Nissan Altima, McCauley said.
McCauley presented circumstantial evidence suggesting that Wallace, who occasionally traveled to Miramar, Fla., where his parents lived, obtained two .22-caliber handguns from a gun store in the area and brought them back to New England.
One of the weapons was recovered last spring after an incident at a Providence nightclub where several fans taunted Hernandez. Police said they observed a man matching Wallace’s general description throw a .22 under a car and flee.
The other .22 was found in a wooded area between the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was found and Hernandez’s North Attleborough home. Both firearms were traced back to the gun shop in Florida.
McCauley said that on June 16, Hernandez summoned, by text, Wallace and friend Carlos Ortiz from Connecticut to his house.
When the men arrived, they went to Dorchester, where they picked up Lloyd and drove to a secluded lot behind the industrial park.
“After the murder of Odin Lloyd, the vehicle proceeded back to the home of Aaron Hernandez,” McCauley said.
In arguing for $1 million cash bail, McCauley outlined Wallace’s extensive criminal history dating back to the 1980s, a history that includes numerous drug violations, false identities, and defaults. Wallace allegedly fled Massachusetts after Lloyd’s murder, then left from Connecticut for Florida, receiving financial support from Hernandez and from Hernandez’s aunt, the prosecutor said.
Meier, Wallace’s attorney, argued that the prosecution’s case against his client relies on statements from Ortiz, who despite being recorded on Hernandez’s surveillance system carrying a gun from the rented Nissan Altima into Hernandez’s house shortly after the murder, was only charged with a firearms offense.
“The second individual who had a gun is not the defendant before the court, Mr. Wallace, but the individual Carlos Ortiz,” Meier said.
“Because of what he told investigators . . . seven or eight days after the incident, he was charged with possession of a firearm,” Meier said, suggesting that prosecutors went light on charging Ortiz in exchange for his cooperation in the case.
Wallace did not “flee” to Florida but rather returned to his parents’ house, where he had lived, Meier argued. His father is a former landscaper and his mother is a nurse.
Wallace kept a Florida identification card, and when he heard that authorities were looking for him he went to the local police station and turned himself in, Meier said.