Aaron Hernandez portrayed as hothead, wrongly accused of double murder

BOSTON  — Testimony is underway Wednesday in the double murder trial of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

The former New England Patriots tight end already is serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez is charged in the 2012 fatal shootings of two men he encountered at a Boston nightclub. Massachusetts prosecutors say Hernandez became enraged when one of the men accidentally bumped into him, causing him to spill his drink. He’s accused of opening fire on their car as they waited at a stop light.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers are expected to challenge the credibility of a former friend who was with Hernandez the night the men were shot.

2:35 p.m.

Two very different pictures of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez have been painted for jurors during opening statements at his double-murder trial.

A prosecutor portrayed Hernandez as an arrogant football player who became enraged after a chance encounter with two men at a Boston nightclub. He said Hernandez opened fire on them hours later at a stoplight, then shot his best friend, Alexander Bradley, months later when he feared Bradley would implicate him in the double shooting.

Bradley survived and is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness.

But Hernandez’s lawyer counters that Bradley is the one who killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado on July 16, 2012, over a drug deal. He said police did almost nothing to investigate the killings until they zeroed in on Hernandez.

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1:05 p.m.

A lawyer for Aaron Hernandez has told a jury that the government’s star witness in the former NFL star’s double murder trial is the real killer.

Jose Baez says prosecutors want to convict Hernandez so badly they made “a deal with the devil.” He said the real killer is Alexander Bradley, a close friend of Hernandez’s who was with him the night the men were killed.

During his opening statement Wednesday, prosecutor Patrick Haggan told jurors that Bradley will testify that Hernandez shot the men because he thought they had disrespected him in a Boston nightclub in 2012.

Prosecutors have said Hernandez shot Bradley in the face in 2013 because he was worried Bradley might implicate him in the double murder. Bradley survived the shooting but lost his right eye.

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11:30 a.m.

A prosecutor in the double-murder trial of Aaron Hernandez has told a jury that the ex-NFL star 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.

Prosecutor Patrick Haggan told the jury during opening statements Wednesday that Hernandez had a brief encounter with Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012. He said that two hours after de Abreu accidentally bumped into Hernandez and spilled his drink, Hernandez opened fire on the men’s car as they waited at a stop light.

Haggan said the encounter to most people would be “simply trivial,” but Hernandez misinterpreted it as a sign of disrespect.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killings. His lawyer is scheduled to give his opening statement Wednesday afternoon.

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10:55 a.m.

A juror in the double-murder trial of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez has been 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 Wednesday to dismiss the juror. The case will now be heard by 15 people — 12 regular jurors and three alternates.

 

 

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