‘Simple bump’ led Aaron Hernandez to kill 2, prosecutor says
BOSTON — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez killed two men in a hail of gunfire after he became enraged by “a simple bump, a spilled drink and an exchange of looks” in a Boston nightclub, a prosecutor said Wednesday in opening statements in the double-murder trial.
Prosecutor Patrick Haggan told the jury that Hernandez had a brief encounter with Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012.
Two hours after de Abreu accidentally bumped into Hernandez and spilled his drink, Haggan said, Hernandez opened fire on the men’s car as they waited at a stoplight.
Haggan said the encounter to most people would be “simply trivial,” but Hernandez misinterpreted it as a sign of disrespect.
Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, is already is serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the double murder. His lawyers are expected to challenge the credibility of a former friend who was with Hernandez the night the men were shot and is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness.
Earlier Wednesday, a juror in Hernandez’s case was dismissed after a police officer scheduled to testify told the court they had once coached a football team together.
Hernandez’s lawyers were allowed to use a peremptory challenge to dismiss the juror. The case is now being heard by 15 people — 12 regular jurors and three alternates.
Hernandez, now 27, grew up in Connecticut and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012. The team released him in June 2013, shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd’s killing.
Prosecutors in the double murder case have said that in the months before the killings, Hernandez had become increasingly convinced that people had been “testing, trying or otherwise disrespecting him” when he went to area nightclubs.
De Abreu, 29, and Furtado, 28, were close friends who attended high school and served in the military together in Cape Verde before coming to the United States and settling in Boston.