Former New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez heard more from the prosecution’s star witness on Tuesday, Alexander Bradley. Hernandez is accused of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safir Furtado on July 16, 2012 outside a nightclub after prosecutors say he became angry over a spilled drink.
Bradley continued on the stand Tuesday, after dramatically testifying on Monday about how he says Hernandez committed the murders.
“As I was approaching the car, he told me, ‘Roll the window down,’” Bradley testified. “I rolled the window down, and when we got up to the car, as we were approaching, he put his hand up to my chest and pushed me back.”
He then said Hernandez fired shots from the revolver after failing to get a response from the occupants of the BMW and continued firing until the gun made a “click” noise.
Bradley is testifying under a grant of state immunity and is the first witness to positively identify Hernandez as the shooter.
Months after the shooting, prosecutors say Hernandez shot Bradley in the face in an effort to tie up loose ends, but he failed to kill him.
Earlier in the day in Tuesday, the defense received a major blow to its case when the judge ruled testimony about Bradley’s conviction for shooting up a nightclub in 2014 would not be allowed in this trial. The defense clearly wanted to use the opportunity to paint Bradley as a man capable of killing. He is currently serving time for shooting up a nightclub in 2014 in Hartford, CT.
In another blow to the defense, the judge ruled that jurors would not learn that CT police crime techs linked a gun used in a Bridgeport shooting to a cache of stolen weapons, one of which was used by Bradley in the Hartford shooting. The judge decided the ballistics link alone was not enough and feared jurors might hear the evidence and assume Bradley was also the shooter on July 16, 2012, or at the very least it would confuse the jury.
Judge Jeffrey Locke ultimately concluded the best course of action was to keep out any mention of Hernandez’s prior conviction and to limit the way jurors could be told of Bradley’s shooting conviction.
“I am firmly convinced that if the jurors were to hear information relating to Bradley’s conduct at the Vevo Lounge, and relating to Mr. Hernandez’s conduct with regard to Odin Lloyd, we would end up with two trials within a trial,’’ Locke explained. “It would be prejudicial and it would certainly be confusing to the jury.’’
Locke’s ruling was made without the jurors in the courtroom. They returned to hear the completion of Bradley’s direct testimony and heard him explain why he turned on his former friend and testified for the state.
“When it came down to it, at the end, I just wasn’t going to go down for something he did,’’ Bradley testified at the end of his direct examination on Tuesday.
Later Tuesday, it was the defense’s turn to cross-examine Bradley and attorney Jose Baez was after him from the beginning. He began by attacking Bradley’s credibility, telling jurors that Bradley was nothing but a drug dealer and a government witness out to save his own skin. He also accused Bradley of having financial motives to testify against Hernandez.
At one point in the testimony, Baez got Bradley to admit that he once told Hernandez that he could provide the football star with guns and “wolves,” which Bradley said were friends that were “violent,” after initially suggesting that could also they were shooters.
“You’re telling Aaron that you’ve got this for him,” Baez told jurors, suggesting Bradley gave the impression the guns were weapons that could be used for killing.
“I told Aaron that I had that” kind of firepower, Bradley replied.
Towards the end of Tuesday’s testimony, Baez finally addressed the elephant in the room — the civil lawsuit Bradley filed against Hernandez for injuries allegedly suffered when Hernandez shot Bradley in the face in a separate incident. Baez pointed out for the jurors how Bradley pleaded the 5th Amendment numerous times during a civil deposition in that lawsuit.
Hernandez and Bradley did not speak to each other in the courtroom, but at one point they reportedly made eye contact and Hernandez ” flashed a slight grin with the tip of his tongue visible on his upper lip,” according to the Boston Globe reporter in the courtroom.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all counts in the 2012 killings.
The former football star is already sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when he was convicted nearly two years ago in another murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. That case is on appeal.
Bradley pleaded guilty to shooting up a nightclub in 2014, but the judge ruled the defense could not question Bradley about that incident.
Baez will continue his cross examination of Bradley on Wednesday and LawNewz will have live courtroom coverage and analysis of the action.
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