Former NFL star pleads not guilty to shooting Alexander Bradley in the face
Prosecutor says Aaron Hernandez became paranoid that he was watched by law enforcement
Prosecution: Hernandez believed Bradley was the only one to implicate him in killing two men
Ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez faced a judge again on Thursday, this time in the shooting of his former right-hand man that happened in February 2013 in Florida.
Hernandez, 25, pleaded not guilty in front of Judge Jeffrey Locke to witness intimidation in the shooting of Alexander Bradley. Hernandez is accused of shooting Bradley and leaving him to die in an industrial park near Riviera Beach, Florida. Bradley is believed to be a witness to the homicides of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, and prosecutors say Bradley was shot by Hernandez after he made a remark about the double murder.
De Abreu and Furtado were fatally shot in a 2003 BMW outside a Boston nightclub on July 16, 2012. In January 2014, a Boston grand jury indicted Hernandez in the deaths. A break in the case came when an SUV sought by Boston police was found at the home of Hernandez’s cousin.
Prosecutor Patrick Haggan said in court Thursday that Hernandez became paranoid he was being watched by police and shot Bradley because he was the only witness to the 2012 shooting. Hernandez faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed assault with intent to murder, and single counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm in relation to the July 2012 shooting. Bradley is expected to be a key witness against him during the pending trial.
“Alexander Bradley directly witnessed as the defendant Aaron Hernandez extended himself through the driver’s side of the vehicle and fired five times into that vehicle killing Mr. de Abreu and Mr. Furtado and wounding a third individual,” said Haggan.
According to Haggan, in February 2013, Hernandez invited Bradley to a Super Bowl Party in Florida. During the trip they went to a nightclub, where Hernandez thought he was watched by two undercover officers.
When Hernandez pointed out the individuals, according to Haggan, Bradley responded with words to the effect of “it’s probably because of the stupid stuff you did up there in Boston.” At that point Bradley noticed Hernandez got visibly angry with him, according to Haggan.
Bradley, Hernandez and a friend went to another nightclub in Miami the next night where the two got into an argument over a bill and then later into another argument in the car over a phone that was left behind by Bradley.
Haggan told the court that Bradley fell asleep during the car ride.
“When Mr. Bradley awoke to the car stopping in an alleyway, he awoke to find a handgun pointed in his face. That handgun was being held by the defendant Aaron Hernandez,” said Haggan.
Bradley was shot once in the face.
“That wound was a near fatal wound to his face, resulting in the loss of his right eye. As well as a defensive gunshot wound to his hand. Mr. Bradley was then pushed out of the car and the car drove away,” said Haggan.
Hernandez was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd last month. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
His next court date is set for June 4.
CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Laura Dolan contributed to this report.