Babysitter says ex-NFL star had suspects over before murder

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2015 1:42 PM

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Two suspected accomplices were at the Massachusetts home of Aaron Hernandez hours before the three allegedly killed an associate in a industrial park nearby, a woman who babysat the ex-NFL star's child testified on Monday.

Jennifer Fortier, 28, said she was babysitting at the home of Hernandez and his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, the night of June 16, 2013, when two men identified as Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz arrived around midnight while the couple were out.

Prosecutors have alleged the three men picked up Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating Jenkins' sister, at his Boston home early on June 17, 2013, and drove him to the industrial area where his bullet-riddled body was found later that day.

Hernandez, 25, is accused of fatally shooting Lloyd and is being tried at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts. Wallace and Ortiz also face murder charges and will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Hernandez, a former tight-end for the New England Patriots, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Surveillance video played in court showed Wallace and Ortiz arriving at the house in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, and Fortier answering the door. They arrived in what prosecutors say was a rented Nissan Altima that they later drove to the crime scene.

In the video the men appear standing by the car in the driveway for several minutes, putting on clothes and leaning into the back seat and trunk, before entering the house.

"He was knocking at the door," she said of Wallace, who she had met previously and knew by the nickname "Bo." "I was sitting on the couch with the baby."

Fortier said Hernandez or Jenkins called her cell phone within 10-15 minutes of their arrival, and that she handed the phone to Wallace, who walked into the kitchen to talk before giving her the phone back.

After Hernandez and Jenkins returned, Hernandez went upstairs quickly before leaving with the men at around 1 a.m., she said. Fortier said she talked with Jenkins for about an hour before leaving.

On Friday, Diane Fife Biagiotti, a Massachusetts State Police crime lab DNA analyst, testified she found the DNA of Hernandez and Lloyd on a marijuana cigarette that investigators found near Lloyd's body.

She also said she found Hernandez's DNA on an empty shell casing that had been stuck to a piece of blue chewing gum and removed from a car Hernandez returned to a rental agency.

Hernandez had a $41 million contract with the Patriots. He was released from the team hours after his arrest in June, 2013.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Alan Crosby)