Aaron Hernandez killed two men in a drive-by shooting over a spilled drink at a nightclub, prosecutors said in arraigning the former New England Patriots star on murder charges.
Wednesday’s court appearance in Suffolk County Superior Court was the first for Hernandez since he was formally charged with gunning down Daniel de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, and wounding a third man in the July 16, 2012 shooting on Boston’s south side.
There was "no evidence the defendant and the victims knew one another or had ever crossed paths prior to that night," First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan told the courtroom. And neither de Abreu nor Furtado — nor their friends — recognized Hernandez when they crossed paths at Cure Lounge.
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"Daniel de Abreu, while dancing nearby, accidentally bumped into the defendant, causing the defendant’s drink to partially spill," Haggan said. "The defendant became angered and increasingly agitated, particularly after Mr. de Abreu smiled and did not apologize."
After downing two mixed drinks, Hernandez and Bradley left and went to a nearby club — then, after leaving, encountered de Abreu, Furtado and their friends.
Haggan alleged that Hernandez, driving down the street in front of the club, said, "There they go" after seeing de Abreu and Furtado and their friends walking to a parking garage. The prosecutor asserted that at some point Hernandez pulled around a corner, opened the hood and grabbed the gun he’d stowed there.
Hernandez then allegedly followed de Abreu as he drove Furtado and their friends away from the club — stopping briefly at a red light, then speeding off to catch up with them and pulling up next to them at a red light on an overpass on Interstate 90.
"At the time," Haggan said, "the victims were completely unaware there were any problems with the defendant or anyone else and were similarly unaware they were being followed."
At that point, Hernandez yelled out the window, "Yo, what’s up now," then a racial slur, Haggan said, and then Hernandez began firing from the revolver. Witnesses, he said, heard a clicking noise — indicating that Hernandez emptied the gun.
As he sped away on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Hernandez allegedly said, "I think I got one in the head and one in the chest."
Hernandez, arraigned on murder, assault and weapons charges, calmly pleaded "not guilty" to each charge after it was read to him.
FOX Sports’ Kevin Vaughan contributed to this report.