Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, already jailed in connection with the murder of a friend, has been indicted for first-degree murder in connection with a fatal double shooting in Boston, prosecutors said Thursday.
Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado were gunned down in a drive-by attack after leaving the Cure Lounge on July 16, 2012. No arrests were made at the time.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said Hernandez — who faces a separate first-degree murder charge in another county for the June 2013 slaying of semipro football player Odin Lloyd — was the triggerman in the double homicide.
He allegedly followed the men's vehicle from the club, pulled up alongside them at a red light and opened fire with a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. De Abreu and Furtado were fatally wounded; a third man was shot in the arm and two others in the car fled unharmed.
Despite the tight-end's high profile, "for us, this case was never about Aaron Hernandez," Conley said. "This was about two victims who were stalked, ambushed and senselessly murdered."
He said early reports that de Abreu and Furtado had ties to a gang were incorrect.
"Neither of them were involved in gangs, guns or violent crimes at any time," Conley said.
He said "a chance encounter" inside the club between the victims and their friends and Hernandez "triggered a series of events that culminated in these murders."
He declined to provide details beyond that but said more information would come out at an arraignment.
Authorities did not say who was with Hernandez at the time of the shooting but search warrants have indicated investigators believe he went to the club with associate Alexander Bradley.
In a bizarre twist, Bradley later sued the ex-NFL player, saying he shot him in the eye during an argument outside a Miami club in February 2013. Bradley has been jailed for obstructing authorities.
The grand jury also indicted Hernandez's cousin, Tanya Singleton, on contempt charges because she refused to talk to a grand jury investigating the deadly drive-by despite an offer of immunity.
Singleton, 37, had previously been charged with criminal contempt of court and of being an accessory to murder after the fact in connection with Lloyd's murder.
Hernandez is accused of killing Lloyd because he was upset he had been been talking to people he didn't like. His body was found in an industrial park not far from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and gun charges in Lloyd's death. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment about the new charges: two counts of first=degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, weapons possession.
A host of Hernandez's associates and relatives have been questioned or charged in the Lloyd probe, though prosecutors have already admitted one of their own key witnesses is "completely unreliable" and will not be called.
Hernandez is being held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, Mass.
Just this month, he was indicted for an alleged jail assault in February and an alleged threat to "do bodily harm" in November.
First published May 15 2014, 7:34 AM