SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - The nine suspects accused of plotting to kill retired MLB star David Ortiz will serve a year in prison while prosecutors build their case.
During their arraignment on Friday evening, the suspects were brought into the courtroom wearing what appeared to be police helmets and bulletproof vests.
Ortiz was shot in the back at a bar in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Dominican officials announced Wednesday that they had detained the suspected gunman and five accomplices.
On Thursday, Dominican authorities brought in the five suspects from Wednesday along with a handful of additional suspects, including a woman. The nine were rushed to the court in a police pickup truck accompanied heavily armed police for their first appearance, during which charges will be presented against them so they can continue to be held.
A Dominican judge sentenced all nine suspects to one year of "preventative prison" while a 10th suspect is still on the run.
On Thursday, Dominican authorities said the suspected gunman, Rolfy Cruz, confessed to shooting Ortiz. From inside his cell, Cruz told reporters that Big Papi wasn't the intended target.
Prosecutors say the attack was a murder-for-hire plot, but they have yet to identify who ordered the hit and why.
In the meantime, Ortiz has been recovering at the Massachusetts General Hospital ICU, where his family says he'll remain for the next couple of days.
"He continues to heal and make progress. David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary," a statement said.
Ortiz's spokesperson took to social media to ask people not to speculate on the shooting. On a video posted to his Twitter account, Leo Lopez said rumors could interfere with the police investigation.
Prosecutors in New Jersey said that a bench warrant on armed robbery and gun charges has been issued for the man who authorities in the Dominican Republic say pulled the trigger. Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania prosecutor said he believes another suspect in the Ortiz shooting is wanted for attempted homicide in the state.
A grand jury has indicted Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz in connection with two armed robberies in Clifton, New Jersey, in 2017, according to news release from the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office. The 25-year-old from Reading, Pennsylvania, has never been apprehended on those charges.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic have said they have a Rolfy Ferreyra in custody and that he has confessed to the shooting. The New Jersey prosecutors did not address the difference in spelling but said the man they were looking for was the suspected shooter.
Earlier in the day, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said he believes Luis Rivas-Clase, also known as El Cirujano (The Surgeon) - who is being sought in the Ortiz shooting - to be the suspect wanted for a Reading, Pennsylvania, shooting in 2018. He cautioned that confirmation would have to come through a fingerprint match.
American authorities don't expect to see Rivas-Clase, 31, back in Pennsylvania to face trial anytime soon, if ever.
"Since this individual would be subject to charges in the Dominican Republic, the chance of us getting him back is frankly far-fetched," Adams told The Associated Press.
Separately, Rivas-Clase has also been charged with providing false identification to law enforcement and driving without a license in Reading. Bail was set at $10,000, and records show bond was posted on Nov. 29.
But Rivas-Clase skipped bail and was subsequently declared a fugitive, according to an online docket. His attorney in that case did not immediately return a message, while court records do not list an attorney in the attempted homicide case.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic say Rivas-Clase is still at large.
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