Aaron Hernandez appears for a pre-trial hearing at Bristol
County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts in
February. REUTERS/Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Pool
Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez has
been charged with murder in connection with the July 2012
shooting of two men in Boston, Suffolk County District Attorney
Daniel Conley says.
The former tight end for the New England Patriots is already
in jail awaiting trial on charges he and two accomplices shot
a man to death last June. The Patriots released Hernandez
from the team hours after his arrest in that case.
Conley said of the new charges that Hernandez used a handgun
to "ambush and execute" Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, two
Cape Verdean nationals, after they had left a Boston
nightclub and were driving home on July 16, 2012.
"Unbeknownst to them, Hernandez followed them traveling in an
SUV. When the victims' car stopped at a red light ... the SUV
pulled up beside the victims' car on the right. Aaron
Hernandez then fired a .38-caliber revolver multiple times
from the driver's side of his vehicle into the passenger side
of the victims' vehicle," Conley said.
He said Abreu died from a bullet wound to the chest and
Furtado died from one to the head. Three other people in the
car with them survived, he said.
Conley said that investigators had found no evidence that
Hernandez knew Furtado or Abreu before they met at the
nightclub. He also dismissed earlier media reports the
victims were involved in gang activity.
"Neither of them were involved in guns, gangs or crime of any
kind," Conley said.
Hernandez's arraignment on the charges, which also include
assault and firearms violations, has not yet been scheduled.
His attorney was not immediately available to comment.
Investigators linked Hernandez to the double-murder after
their investigation of the death of semi-pro football player
Odin Lloyd, who was found shot to death in an industrial park
near Hernandez's house in South Attleboro, Massachusetts,
last June. Hernandez was previously charged in Lloyd's murder
and is being held at the Bristol County Jail awaiting trial.
"From last June forward, there were a number of significant
developments in the investigation, including the recovery of
the car Hernandez used in the murders, and which he later hid
in a relative's garage," he said.
The murder charges are a setback for the NFL. Despite efforts
to protect itself from controversy, the league has been
dragged into a string of scandals by players stretching from
O.J. Simpson's murder trial in 1995 to more recent cases
involving dog fighting, injury bounties, spying and gambling.
Hernandez had been seen as a rising star in the league and
had a contract with the Patriots worth about $40 million.