Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star tight end, was formally charged today in the 2012 murder of two men in the South End of Boston. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley stated that Hernandez has been indicted as “the principal, the shooter, the person responsible” for the double murder of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, who were shot inside of a car as they waited at a stoplight on July 16, 2012.
In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, Hernandez was also indicted on one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon because he used an illegal weapon and three counts of armed assault with intent to murder for shooting at three other men in the car. The grand jury, after seeing more than 80 exhibits in connection with the case, is still open and more charges could be filed in the case.
A cousin of Hernandez, Tanya Singleton, was also indicted for criminal contempt in connection with the double murder. She had been offered immunity in exchange for her testimony, but she refused to cooperate with authorities.
According to Conley, Hernandez and another man encountered Furtado and de Abreu at the Boston club, Cure, shortly after or upon the arrival of both groups at approximately 12:30 a.m. Both groups came together multiple times during the time spent at the Club, but details of their encounters were not released. After the two men left the club, Hernandez went to his Toyota 4Runner and began following the men. As the group containing Furtado and de Abreu waited at the stop light, Hernandez allegedly drove up alongside of them and fired multiple shots from a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver into the passenger side of the stopped car. Witnesses told police that the SUV had been driven by an Hispanic man with short, dark hair. Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned next week.
At the beginning of the investigation, which would take nearly two years, authorities learned that the shooter of the two men was driving a silver or gray SUV that had Rhode Island plates. They recovered the SUV in Bristol, Conn., inside of a garage owned by a relative of Hernandez. They also recovered the murder weapon from somebody tied to Hernandez. Conley has characterized the murders of Furtado and de Abreu as an ambush and an execution.
This is not the first time the former NFL star has been connected with a murder. He is currently in jail awaiting trial after having pleaded not guilty for the murder of acquaintance Odin Lloyd, 27, last year in Attleborough, Mass. He was arrested on June 26 after the discovery of Lloyd’s body near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough on June 17. It was during their investigation of the Lloyd case that investigators uncovered evidence in the 2012 murders, leading them to an indictment in what had previously been considered a cold case. It has been alleged that Lloyd was murdered due to his knowledge that Hernandez had killed the two men and that he was shot in order to ensure his silence.
Stacey Jones, spokesman for the Patriots, had no comment on Hernandez’s indictment for the double murder. Hernandez played for the Patriots during the 2012-2013 NFL season, a season which occurred after the killings of Furtado and de Abreu. Just one month after Hernandez is alleged to have shot the men, he signed a $40 million contract extension with the Patriots, receiving a signing bonus of $12.5 million. The two men’s relatives have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Hernandez, requesting damages of $6 million per family.
By Jennifer Pfalz