Ernest Wallace pleads not guilty

FALL RIVER, Mass. -- An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting death of a man near Hernandez's Massachusetts home last summer.

Ernest Wallace entered his plea on Thursday in a loud, firm voice at a brief hearing in Superior Court in Fall River.

Wallace had pleaded not guilty to an accessory charge previously in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister. Members of Lloyd's family were in court Thursday.

Another man who faces a murder charge in the case, Carlos Ortiz, is being arraigned May 27. Wallace and Ortiz are from Hernandez's hometown, Bristol, Connecticut. Ortiz also pleaded not guilty earlier to an accessory charge.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Lloyd, who was from Boston.

Separately, Hernandez was indicted Thursday on murder charges in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men in Boston. His lawyers say he's innocent.

The Boston Globe reported that a separate status conference was held Thursday in Fall River in the case of Hernandez's cousin Tanya Singleton, charged in the Lloyd case with contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury and as an accessory after the fact.

Her attorney told the judge she might reach a plea deal on the contempt charge before an Aug. 12 trial. He said she has a cancer recurrence and her health is worsening.