Former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who’s currently being held for his alleged role in the murder of a semi-pro football player from Boston, was indicted Thursday on additional charges that he shot and killed two other people after an altercation at a nightclub two years ago.
According to Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, Hernandez has been connected to the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were gunned down in their BMW after an incident allegedly took place inside of the Cure nightclub on July 16, 2012. Hernandez is being charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as one count of armed assault with intent to murder, and one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to Conley.
Conley said since last June, a significant number of developments were made in regards to the double homicide and the role that Hernandez may have played in the crime, including the recovery of a gun and car Hernandez allegedly used during the shooting, which he later hid in a relative’s garage out of state.
Calling the murders the result of a “chance encounter” between strangers inside the club, Conley said the victims in the case were followed out of the venue by Hernandez and his associates, before they were shot and killed while sitting in their vehicle near Shawmut and Herald Streets. “This case was never about Aaron Hernandez,” Conley said of the investigation during a press conference with reporters Thursday, not long after the indictment was handed down by a Grand Jury. “It was about the two victims who were followed, stalked, ambushed, and senselessly murdered on the streets of Boston that they call home.”
He said the “very best investigators” and the “most experienced prosecutors” have stayed on top of the case since it happened, and their efforts to close in on Hernandez as the alleged shooter in the “brutal double homicide with few leads” speaks to the professionalism of his team.
Officials would not offer specifics about the investigation and subsequent indictment, but said more information would soon be available at a scheduled arraignment set to take place sometime next week.
Just weeks after the killings, Hernandez inked a multi-million dollar contract extension with the New England Patriots.
Conley said Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Singleton, is also being held for refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury. Officials said Thursday that Singleton was offered immunity in exchange for certain information, without exposing herself to criminal prosecution, but she refused to testify.
Echoing Conley’s remarks, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans, who was on the scene when the report came in about the murders in 2012, called the incident a “terrible tragedy,” and expressed his sentiments to the family members of the two victims. “This was a chance encounter where two young men were out at the nightclub, and had an encounter that led to their deaths, and that’s the tragedy here,” he said. “I think all the time when we have shootings in the city, everyone thinks of gang activity. But these were two innocent victims whose lives were taken way too early.”
Evans said police never gave up their efforts to solve the murders. “We were determined,” he said.
Currently, Hernandez is in jail awaiting trial for the 2013 death of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro. Lloyd’s murder led investigators to start looking into a possible connection between Hernandez and the murders of de Abreu and Furtado, based on surveillance footage and witness statements.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from Lloyd’s murder.
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