Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez callously gunned down two men at a red light two years ago because of a spilled drink at a Boston night club, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.
The former tight end was in court to plead not guilty two counts of first-degree murder in connection to the drive-by shooting deaths of two men in July 2012.
Prosecutors say Hernandez, 24, was the triggerman in the slayings of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, two Cape Verde immigrants ambushed after leaving a Boston night club — where they allegedly made the fatal mistake of spilling a drink.
Hernandez’s promising career with the New England Patriots first took a sinister turn when he was arrested on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player, in June 2013.
He was being held in Bristol County Jail awaiting trial in that killing when prosecutors announced the double-murder charges on May 15.
Prosecutors said Hernandez drove a silver Toyota 4Runner SUV in the early hours of July 16, 2012, to go out with a friend to a Boston nightclub. It was there where Hernandez ran into Furtado and de Abreu and three of their buddies.
De Abreu accidentally knocked into Hernandez, causing his drink to spill. That night, prosecutors allege, a hot-headed Hernandez stalked the group outside.
He ended up following them in his car as Furtado and de Abreu's group drove off, prosecutors said.
At a red light, Hernandez allegedly confronted them, saying, "Yo, what’s up now?" before firing off a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson from his car.
De Abreu and Furtado died at the scene, and another passenger suffered a non-life-threatening injury.
Family members of the victims sobbed in court as prosecutors recounted the night.
Hernandez’s attorney later objected to prosecutors speaking with the media and said they were tainting the trial with “prejudicial publicity."
"This is not supposed to be a spectacle,” said defense attorney Charles Rankin. “This is not supposed to be a sporting event."
Hernandez, shackled and dressed in a suit and tie, also pleaded not guilty to three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and single counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, asked the judge not to grant bail to the former New England Patriot tight end. The judge obliged.
— Erik Ortiz
First published May 28 2014, 11:29 AM