Connecticut judicial officials confirmed Thursday that the arrest of Carlos A. Ortiz of Bristol is connected to the investigation that led to former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s murder charge.
Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, also was arrested Wednesday, charged with what prosecutors called the “orchestrated execution” of a man whose last communication was a text to his sister letting her know he was with the now-former NFL star.
The 23-year-old, who was released by the Patriots shortly after his arrest, was arraigned Wednesday in Attleboro, Mass. and held without bail. He pleaded not guilty but did not speak during his court appearance. If convicted of first-degree murder, the former Bristol Central High School player faces a life sentence without parole.
Hernandez is charged in the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, Mass. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.
Brian Preleski, New Britain’s state’s attorney, released a written statement Thursday confirming that Massachusetts authorities had asked his office and Bristol police to help with their investigation of Lloyd’s death.
As a result, Ortiz, of Federal Street in Bristol, was charged Wednesday with fugitive from justice and later appeared in Superior Court in Bristol, Preleski said. Ortiz waived his right to an extradition hearing, he said.
All documents related to Ortiz’s arrest and incarceration have been sealed.
“Both the Bristol Police Department and the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to provide whatever assistance we can in connection with this investigation. As the investigation is ongoing, we can have no further comment at this time,” Preleski said.
Ortiz’s original charge in Massachusetts was violation of probation, Bristol police said. They would not confirm that the arrest is related to the Hernandez investigation.
Court records indicate Ortiz has a record of larceny and criminal mischief convictions, and was on probation at the time of his arrest Wednesday afternoon.
By Jenny Wilson, Dave Altimari, and Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant