After former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, police in Boston connected him to a 2012 drive-by in which he allegedly pulled up next to a car outside of a club, and shot into the vehicle, killing two men and leaving two survivors.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence without parole for killing Lloyd, but will go on trial this February in Boston for the double-homicide. Yesterday, during a pre-trial hearing, one of the survivors, Raychides Sanches, identified Hernandez as the person who killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado during the drive-by.
According to prosecutors, one of the men bumped into Hernandez at a club, spilling his drink. As a result, Hernandez allegedly waited for the men to leave the club, pulled up next to their vehicle, yelled “what up, [racial slur]?” and proceeded to shoot into their vehicle, killing de Abreu and Furtado.
In the Lloyd murder case, prosecutors were never able to recover the gun used to kill him, nor did they ever really establish a motive. However, Massachusetts law did not require prosecutors to prove that Hernandez was the one to pull the trigger (he was with two of his friends), but that he was the one who orchestrated the killing. Hernandez was the only one with any personal connection to Lloyd, and during closing arguments his attorneys straight-up admitted he was at the crime scene. It was by no means a slam-dunk case.
However, in the Boston double-homicide, police did recover the gun (matched to the bullets used to kill de Abreu and Furtado through ballistics testing) in the back of a woman’s car. Hernandez was also seen on surveillance tape leaving the club in a silver Toyota 4Runner, and police found a silver 4Runner in Hernandez’s uncle’s garage. That there are witnesses on top of this evidence appears to be not promising for Hernandez.
If you’ve had a difficult time following the timeline and trials of Hernandez’s (alleged) murders, allow me to put it into a quick(-ish) summation:
- 2007-2010: Hernandez plays under Urban Meyer at Florida. Hernandez has been named in connection to a 2007 shooting in which the gunman fired into a car, but did not kill anyone. Hernandez was named as a suspect, but lawyered up and was never charged.
- 2010: Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots. He fell significantly during the draft due to his use of marijuana. Rob Gronkowski was also drafted that year.
- July 16, 2012: The night of the de Abreu/Furtado murder.
- August 2012: The Patriots give Hernandez a big contract extension, including a $12.5 million signing bonus.
- February 2013: Hernandez allegedly shoots his friend and the godfather of his daughter, Alexander Bradley, in the face in Florida after Bradley allegedly mentioned “the Boston stuff.” (More on Bradley to come.)
- June 17, 2013: Odin Lloyd is murdered in an industrial park that is basically around the corner from Hernandez’s house. (I have personally done the point A to point B drive.) The next week, Hernandez is arrested for the murder and the Patriots cut him the same day.
- Post–arrest 2013: Police in Boston revisit the 2012 double-homicide case and eventually bring charges of murder, attempted murder, and other gun-related charges.
- April 15, 2015: Hernandez is sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
- February 2017: Hernandez will stand trial for the Boston double-homicide.
To get back to Alexander Bradley: He was formerly a close friend of Hernandez, and was a passenger in the car when Hernandez allegedly killed de Abreu and Furtado. After an argument at a strip club in Miami, Hernandez and Bradley were in the car, and after Bradley mentioned “the Boston stuff,” Hernandez shot him in the face and left him by the side of the road to die, according to a civil suit filed by Bradley. When police questioned Bradley, he did not name Hernandez as the person who shot him. Later, Bradley filed a civil lawsuit naming Hernandez as the shooter. That lawsuit was settled out of court in February 2016, and a “witness intimidation” charge was brought against Hernandez for the incident.
To come back to the upcoming double-homicide case, Bradley initially did not want to testify in the trial, but it looks like he will be a prosecution witness after all.
The pretrial hearing was to address a couple of issues from the defense, along with a request from prosecutors to allow witnesses to use general descriptions of the shooter to identify Hernandez.
One motion filed ahead of this hearing by the defense was for grand jury testimony from Hernandez’s former agent to be thrown out, arguing that because he was an attorney as well as an agent, Hernandez should have been subject to attorney-client privilege. Another motion addresses prison phone conversations from Hernandez that were part of a massive hack.
Hernandez has hired skilled trial attorneys for the double-homicide trial, including Jose Baez, Casey Anthony’s attorney, and Alex Spiro, who represented Thabo Sefalosha during his bullshit NYPD trial, and represented Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda as well.
Jury selection for the double-homicide is scheduled to begin Feb. 13, 2017. Given how high-profile this, and Hernandez’s other cases are, that will likely be a highly contested process.