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Two friends of ex-NFL star Hernandez charged with murder

BOSTON (Reuters) - Two associates of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who is in jail awaiting trial on murder and weapons charges, have also been charged with murder in the case, according to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.

A grand jury indicted Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace on Friday in connection with the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was shot five times at close range, in North Attleboro. Ortiz and Wallace had previously been charged as accessories to Lloyd's murder.

Hernandez, a former star tight end for the New England Patriots, was arrested at his North Attleboro mansion days after Lloyd's murder on June 17, and was quickly cut from the National Football League team.

Prosecutors say that Hernandez, Ortiz, and Wallace shot Lloyd after driving him to an industrial park near Hernandez's home.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Attorneys for the three men were not immediately available to comment.

Hernandez is also being investigated for possible links to a July 2012 double murder in Boston.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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