Last Wednesday’s detailed summary of the facts against Aaron Hernandez strongly suggested that one or both of the two other men in the car with Hernandez and Odin Lloyd had been cooperating with police. The man who represented former Panthers receiver Rae Carruth against murder charges would be very surprised if that wasn’t the case.
David Rudolf tells Kevin Manahan of USA Today that “[i]t would be shocking to me if [Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace] haven’t already discussed a deal with prosecutors.”
Rudolf believes that the decision to charge Ortiz and Wallace with crimes less than murder could provide a hint that deals were discussed before the men were arrested. Indeed, it’s odd that Wallace would be charged only as an accessory after the fact if he were in the car with Hernandez before Lloyd was shot.
That discrepancy has caused some (OK, me) to openly wonder whether Wallace became involved in the cover up, and that a fourth man in the car has been cooperating with police, with his identity kept under wraps.
“[Prosecutors or police] are going in there and they’re saying, ‘We have you on video. We know you’re involved. You’d better tell us what went down or you’re going to go down with [Hernandez] for murder,’” Rudolf said.
Rudolf found the prosecution’s use of the term “orchestrated” intriguing, since it means that perhaps Hernandez didn’t pull the trigger — but that he ordered Wallace or Ortiz or someone else to do it.
“They want the high-profile defendant,” Rudolf said. “That’s always the case. And if he isn’t the shooter and they have to offer the shooter a deal to get him, they probably will, if that’s what it takes.”
It may not take that, based on the evidence that already has been disclosed.
“The prosecution has a circumstantial case [against Hernandez], but it’s a strong circumstantial case,” Rudolf said. “Sometimes those are stronger than eyewitness cases, because evidence doesn’t lie.”
Indeed it doesn’t. Facts are stubborn things. And the facts as recited by the prosecution are that Lloyd died in the wee hours of a Monday morning roughly one-half mile from Hernandez’s home in a small, quiet New England town, and that within minutes a car pulled into the driveway showing Hernandez and another man getting out of the car, toting guns.
The car — a rental — later was found to be containing a shell casing that matched the shell casings found at the scene.
Yes, that’s all circumstantial evidence. But, as Rudolf said, it’s strong circumstantial evidence.