BOSTON — Former Patriots and Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez ambushed and gunned down two men after a chance encounter at a nightclub in 2012, prosecutors said Thursday in an indictment that places the gun in his hands weeks before he signed a five-year, $40 million contract and went on to catch 51 passes and score five touchdowns during the NFL season.
Hernandez, already jailed in connection with a man's 2013 shooting death, was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. A third man was wounded in that attack.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killing last year of semipro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass. He was released by the Patriots last summer after being arrested. His attorneys said he looks forward to proving his innocence of the new charges.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley would not say whether prosecutors suspected a link between the two cases beyond their accusations of Hernandez's involvement.
The night of the 2012 shootings, Hernandez and an associate went into the Cure Lounge in Boston at about the same time as the other men, Conley said. He would not describe the encounter but said there was no evidence Hernandez knew the victims.
After the men left, Hernandez followed in an SUV and pulled up alongside them as they were stopped at a red light, Conley said. "Aaron Hernandez fired a .38-caliber revolver multiple times from the driver's side of his vehicle into the passenger's side of the victim's vehicle," killing de Abreu and Furtado, Conley said.
The case was unsolved for months. After Lloyd's killing, Conley said, the SUV was found in Bristol, Conn., where Hernandez grew up, and the gun used was recovered from a person with ties to Hernandez. Previous court documents said the vehicle was found at the home of Hernandez's uncle.
A grand jury heard testimony from more than 24 witnesses and examined more than 80 pieces of evidence before returning the indictments, Conley said.
Browns: The team agreed to terms with free agent wide receiver Miles Austin, insurance in case Pro Bowl player Josh Gordon is suspended for failing a third drug test.
Panthers: The woman who says Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy assaulted and threatened to kill her Monday said he "just snapped" after an argument over her short-lived relationship with rapper and Charlotte Bobcats minority owner Nelly, court documents say. The woman said she and Hardy lived together until they broke up in March and she moved out, a Charlotte Police Department warrant worksheet for obtaining an arrest says. Also, a Charlotte judge dismissed a protective order request by the woman after she failed to show up in court. Hardy was arrested on charges of assault and communicating threats, and is free on bond. His attorney has refuted the allegations.
Raiders: Top draft pick Khalil Mack signed an $18.7 million, four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year. Mack was chosen fifth overall out of Buffalo in last week's draft and is expected to be an immediate impact pass rusher at linebacker.