Skip to main content

Hernandez prosecutors: Bump, spilled drink led to double homicide

By Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 2:27 PM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
  • Two men were shot to death near a Boston nightclub in 2012
  • Prosecution: One victim bumped into Hernandez at club, angering athlete
  • Hernandez pleads not guilty to murder charges
  • His attorney objects to comments by prosecutor

(CNN) -- An accidental dance floor bump and a spilled drink agitated then-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez before he allegedly shot and killed two men in Boston, an assistant district attorney said Wednesday during Hernandez's arraignment.

The arraignment, in which Hernandez pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges, had prosecutors revealing the most details to date about a possible motive in the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.

Hernandez, 24, has been jailed since his arrest last year in connection with the June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd in southern Massachusetts. Authorities began investigating him in the 2012 slayings after his arrest in the Lloyd case. He wasn't indicted in the double homicide until this month.

Hernandez attorney Charles Rankin objected to the court letting Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan give "a speech" about the prosecution's case, arguing that the prosecutor was trying to poison the jury pool.

Authorities say Hernandez and a friend -- driving from Connecticut to Boston -- arrived at Boston's Cure Lounge in the early morning of July 16, 2012.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is led into the courtroom to be arraigned on homicide charges on Wednesday, May 28, in Boston. Hernandez pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He has also been charged in the 2013 death of semipro football player Odin Lloyd. Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is led into the courtroom to be arraigned on homicide charges on Wednesday, May 28, in Boston. Hernandez pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He has also been charged in the 2013 death of semipro football player Odin Lloyd.
Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez
Photos: Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez Photos: Rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez didn't know the victims before that night, and had no interaction with them until a dancing de Abreu accidentally bumped into Hernandez -- spilling some of Hernandez's drink -- as the Patriots tight end stood at the edge of a dance floor, said Haggan.

"(Hernandez) became angered and increasingly agitated, particularly after Mr. de Abreu smiled and did not apologize," Haggan said.

No argument was seen, and the eventual victims weren't "even aware that the defendant had become angered or agitated," Haggan said.

Hernandez told a friend at the lounge "that Mr. de Abreu had deliberately bumped him and was, quote, 'trying him,' " Haggan said.

Investigators believe that Hernandez, in prior months, "had become increasingly sensitive and angered by what he believed to be people testing, trying or otherwise disrespecting him when he frequented nightclubs in the area," according to Haggan.

The friend, attempting to calm Hernandez, walked him outside, and they eventually entered a club across the street, the prosecutor said. At the second club, Hernandez pointed out a small group of men and told his friend he believed that the man who bumped into him at the Cure had followed him, Haggan said.

"Witness testimony and video surveillance reveal, however, that the defendant's belief was mistaken, as the victims never left Cure lounge until after 2 a.m.," Haggan said.

Hernandez and his friend left the second club and returned to the SUV in which they'd arrived, Haggan said. They drove around, and at some point they pulled over on a nearby street, Haggan said.

Hernandez retrieved a revolver from the engine block of the SUV, where he had hidden the gun shortly before he and his friend left Connecticut, Haggan said.

The 2012 shootings

Authorities previously said that the victims and three of their friends left the Cure Lounge and drove away, unaware that Hernandez was driving behind them.

When the victims' car stopped at a red light, Hernandez's SUV pulled up beside it.

"Aaron Hernandez then fired a .38-caliber revolver multiple times from the driver's side of his vehicle into the passenger's side of the victims' vehicle," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said earlier this month.

De Abreu, the driver, was shot several times and fatally hit in the chest. Furtado, who was in the front passenger seat, was struck multiple times and gravely wounded with a shot to the head, the district attorney said.

Two backseat passengers escaped injury and ran from the car. A third man remained in the car and suffered a wound to his arm, Conley said.

Defense attorney: Prosecution trying to poison jury pool

In addition to the two counts of first-degree murder, Hernandez also pleaded not guilty to three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, the district attorney said.

After the July 2012 incident, Hernandez continued to play football. During the next season, he had 51 receptions for 483 yards and five touchdowns. The Patriots finished the regular season with 12 wins and four losses and won the AFC East Division. They lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game.

Authorities say they began investigating Hernandez in the 2012 killings after they found the SUV -- at a Connecticut home of Hernandez's relatives -- while investigating him in the 2013 Odin Lloyd case.

Hernandez, already held without bail in the Lloyd case, also was ordered held without a bail opportunity in the 2012 case.

Rankin, the attorney for Hernandez, objected to Haggan's extended remarks.

"There is no reason at all to have a speech by the district attorney's office about what they say the facts are, and the court has just played along with that," Rankin said. "This is not supposed to be a spectacle. This is not supposed to be a sporting contest."

"I object to the court giving the district attorney's office an opportunity to present its one-sided view of the case after a one-sided grand jury proceeding," Rankin said.

The judge noted that Rankin also had an opportunity to speak, and that to prevent the prosecution to speak about the case would violate "custom and procedure that dates back quite a few years."

The next court date was set for June 24.

The 2013 Odin Lloyd killing

Law enforcement has focused on Hernandez since he was arrested in June. He was charged with first-degree murder and weapons charges in connection with the shooting death of Lloyd, a 27-year-old semipro football player, in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, about a mile from Hernandez's home.

On June 17, a jogger found Lloyd's body riddled with gunshot wounds at an industrial park.

Prosecutors have said that on that day, Lloyd was seen was seen around 2:30 a.m. with Hernandez and Hernandez's friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, in a rented silver Nissan Altima.

On June 18 and 22, police searched Hernandez's home. Days later, the football player was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Lloyd's death. Hernandez also was hit with five weapons-related charges.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty. The NFL's Patriots then dropped the tight end from the team roster.

Last month, Hernandez's associates, Ortiz and Wallace, were indicted on murder charges in connection with Lloyd's killing. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Photos: Athletes charged with murder

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Laura Dolan, Ashley Fantz and Lorenzo Ferrigno contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Aaron Hernandez
The career of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has taken a drastic turn for the worse.
updated 4:20 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
For Ursula Ward, visiting her son's gravesite has become a painful yet inescapable part of her daily routine.
How did Aaron Hernandez go from NFL star to accused murderer? It's a long story that dates back to his high school days.
updated 12:57 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Aaron Hernandez is behind bars, accused of murdering three people. Here is a primer on some of the names you might be hearing.
updated 8:02 AM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
A judge has ruled that prosecutors may not introduce the texts that murder victim Odin Lloyd sent his sister shortly before his death.
updated 11:22 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
Aaron Hernandez was destined to be a football superstar and was already one of the NFL's most promising tight ends.
updated 4:39 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
If prosecutors plan to argue Hernandez was the one who fired seven rounds into Odin Lloyd, they won't be able to show the alleged murder weapon to make their case.
updated 2:27 PM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
An accidental dance floor bump and a spilled drink agitated Aaron Hernandez before he allegedly shot and killed two men in Boston, an assistant district attorney said.
updated 3:54 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
An associate of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in connection with the 2013 homicide of Odin Lloyd in Massachusetts.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Are clues to alleged murders hidden in tattoos on the right forearm of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez?
updated 7:02 PM EDT, Thu May 15, 2014
Ex-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 killings of two men in Boston.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
The families of two men who were gunned down in Boston in 2012 have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Aaron Hernandez.
In the wake of the tragic events centering on a star NFL player being charged for murder, we are forced to ask ourselves just what this says about the game we all love.
updated 11:18 AM EST, Tue February 4, 2014
Aaron Hernandez used "coded messages" in jailhouse calls to discuss the killing of Odin Lloyd, Massachusetts prosecutors said in court papers.
updated 5:48 PM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Here is a look at the life of Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end charged with the murders of Odin Lloyd, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
CNN's Deborah Feyerick looks at the crime scene in the murder case against former NFL player Aaron Hernandez.
updated 3:02 PM EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
A search of an apartment leased by Aaron Hernandez recovered ammunition from the same caliber gun used to kill his friend.
updated 8:51 PM EDT, Fri June 28, 2013
Erin Burnett talks to Bleacher Reporter Dan Levy about the checkered past of fmr. Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
Odin Lloyd carved a reputation as a trophy-accumulating athlete who in school had a mischievous streak for jokes and pranks, relatives said.
updated 10:08 PM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
Get to know the Patriots' former tight end through our photo gallery.