Hernandez Arraigned in Double Murder Case
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arraigned Wednesday afternoon, across the street from Suffolk University, in Suffolk Superior Court on murder charges for the July 2012 killings of Daniel De Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty to all seven counts related to the incident, including two 1st-degree murder charges. A request by the defense to remove Hernandez’s handcuffs was denied by the judge.
Hernandez is already being held without bail while awaiting trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro in June 2013.
Prosecutors went into great detail about the events that led up to the shooting at the corner of Shawmut Ave. and Herald Street in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012. They allege that Hernandez, after leaving his car in a nearby garage with a gun inside the engine block, entered Cure Lounge nightclub on Tremont Street late on the night of July 15, never having met the victims.
Witness testimony and surveillance video shows that the two parties did not initially interact.
They first crossed paths, according to the Suffolk County DA’s office, when De Abreu bumped into Hernandez near the dance floor and a drink was spilled on Hernandez. Hernandez felt “disrespected” by De Abreu, who did not apologize, and felt that De Abreu targeted him and was trying to “test” him. There was no altercation inside the club.
Hernandez and a friend then left the club moments later and entered another night club, which prosecutors say can be seen on surveillance. The victims then arrived at the second night club and Hernandez believed they were following him. The DA’s office said the victims had no idea they had angered Hernandez.
Hernandez then left the club and “pulled over on a nearby street” according to the DA. Shortly after 2 a.m., De Abreu and Furtado left the club and picked up their car at the parking garage.
Hernandez was watching from his car and the prosecution says he said, “there they go.”
When De Abreu and Furtado pulled up to a red light at the intersection of Shawmut and Herald, Hernandez drove up along the passenger’s side of the victims’ vehicle in his SUV (which was owned by a Rhode Island car dealership and being driven by Hernandez as part of a promotion). The DA says Hernandez opened fire with a .38 caliber revolver from the driver’s side window, fatally shooting De Abreu in the chest and Furtado in the head. A third victim was shot in the arm but survived. At least five rounds were fired, according to the prosecution.
Two other passengers were in the backseat of the victims’ car but were able to escape unharmed.
Prosecutors then allege that Hernandez drove the car to the Connecticut home of his cousin, Tanya Singleton, and left it there. After the shooting, Hernandez allegedly told his friend, “I think I got one in the chest, and one in the head.”
Hernandez’s defense attorney Charles Rankin’s response to the prosecution was animated. Rankin accused the prosecution of playing to the media and was not happy they were allowed to make a “speech” in front of the cameras. Rankin said that his client has had to face an “avalanche” of criticism in the media and that the “poisoning of the jury pool continues.” Rankin went on to say the arraignment should not be a “spectacle.”
Magistrate Gary Wilson responded to the complaint by the defense by saying, “We do not operate behind closed doors. This is an open proceeding. I do not control the attendance in this courtroom.” Wilson also said the press is always welcome and that the arraignment was no different than any other he has ever been apart of.
Bail for Hernandez was denied. His next court appearance will be June 24 in Suffolk Superior Court.