Three weeks ago, Carlos Ortiz had a much different relationship with former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. The 27-year-old was not a star witness who may be providing investigators with enough information to put Hernandez away for life. Instead, he was a close friend.
Ortiz hangs around on a street called Davis Drive in Bristol, Conn. — where Hernandez also grew up. He is known as “Charlie” in his neighborhood and has several family members who live there, including three children he has fathered with three women. According to USA Today Sports, the residents of Davis Drive used to cover for him when he got into trouble with the law. But now, Ortiz has been labeled a “rat.”
“He was one of us,” Ortiz’s cousin Jose Torres told USA Today Sports.
Ortiz is currently being held without bail for his potential involvement in the murder of Odin Lloyd, and jail may be a safer place for him than his own neighborhood. Amber Schryer, who said she used to let Ortiz crash on her couch, summarized what the people of Davis Drive are feeling about the Hernandez situation.
“That’s Aaron Hernandez,” Schryer said. “You tell the police you don’t know anything.”
It may be too late for that, as Ortiz has already reportedly told investigators that Hernandez admitted to firing the shots that killed Lloyd. Because of that, his own cousin basically implied Ortiz will have to watch his back if he ever returns to Davis Drive.
“He can come back here, but if you come back to the streets where everybody thinks you’re hard but you’ve been snitching …,” Torres said, his voice reportedly trailing off. “Everybody knows that Charlie told. He’s been labeled a rat. He’s done. He’s done. You’re going to have another breaking news (story) on TV.”
For what it’s worth, Torres said he believes what Ortiz told the police. He believes Hernandez and Lloyd had a beef but appeared to squash it before Hernandez made an unexpected stop, fired some shots and got back into the car with Ortiz and Ernest Wallace and sped off. Torres just feels it wasn’t Ortiz’s place to tell police the story.
Ironically, Torres also believes Hernandez used Ortiz and that his cousin was blinded by the former NFL star’s $40 million contract and $1.5 million home in North Attleboro.
“That’s my cousin and I love him, but he got caught up with the wrong people and they used him,” Torres said. “If he thinks you’re his friend, he’s going to go all out for you. He has a good heart, but he’s not very smart.”
Perhaps Ortiz decided to cooperate with investigators because he felt used. Apparently his cousin feels that is not reason enough. Chris Dearborn, a criminal law professor at Suffolk University and former public defender, told USA Today Sports that there is still a chance Ortiz could regret what he has already said and refuse to testify. Whether the pressure coming from Davis Drive affects the trial or not remains to be seen.Google+