Carlos Ortiz changes plea to guilty to accessory after the fact

FALL RIVER, Mass. -- A friend of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for his part in a 2013 shooting death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.

Carlos Ortiz changed his plea to guilty on Monday. In return, prosecutors dropped murder charges against him. He was sentenced to 4½ to 7 years in prison.

Hernandez, Ortiz and Ernest Wallace -- all friends from Bristol, Connecticut -- were all initially charged with murder.

Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd's murder last year and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Wallace was acquitted of murder earlier this year but sentenced to seven years in prison for being an accessory after the killing.

Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée.

During Monday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh led Ortiz through a series of questions asking whether he understood the changes and understood the consequences of a guilty plea.

She explained that prosecutors would have had to prove that Ortiz knew Hernandez killed Lloyd, and she asked him how he knew that.

"When we got to the spot, the only two people that got out of the car was Aaron Hernandez and Odin Lloyd,'' Ortiz told her.

He said when he heard the gunshot, he turned around to look.

"The only one person that came in was Aaron Hernandez,'' he said.

Later, Ortiz began to cry as he listened to Lloyd's mother speak about how much she missed her son.

"My heart aches, for three years of not hearing my son's voice, not seeing his smiling face,'' Ursula Ward said.

The plea brings an end to the criminal case in Lloyd's killing, but Hernandez's legal woes are not over. He has pleaded not guilty to a 2012 double murder in Boston, and is also facing multiple civil lawsuits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.