BOSTON (CBS) – A surviving witness took the stand Wednesday in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial, recalling the moment his two friends were brutally killed in the South End in 2012.
Prosecutors say the former Patriots tight end killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after an encounter at Cure Lounge.
The two men were found shot to death in a BMW in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012.
Aquilino Freire was in the back seat of the car when de Abreu and Furtado were killed. Freire testified on Wednesday that the group was “just drinking, having fun” inside Cure Lounge before leaving after 2 a.m.
Freire said he did not witness any altercations inside the club. Prosecutors have previously said Hernandez committed the murders because he felt disrespected after Abreu accidentally bumped into him, spilling a drink.
Surveillance cameras captured the BMW leaving a parking garage at 2:26 a.m. with de Abreu driving and Furtado in the front passenger seat. Freire was in the back seat with two other passengers.
As the BMW stopped at a traffic light, Freire says an SUV pulled up.
He told the jury he heard a man’s voice yell “What up (expletive),” before gunshots rang out.
Freire recalled waving for help while bleeding heavily from his right arm. He said he told de Abreu “keep strong,” adding “it was like panic.”
“He was trying to talk. He was dying,” Freire testified about de Abreu. “I was trying to talk to him.”
During the testimony, the victims’ relatives were sobbing inside the courtroom.
Freire said he talked to de Abreu for about two minutes after he was shot. But de Abreu stopped breathing.
An ambulance eventual transported Freire to an area hospital. Defense attorneys questioned him Wednesday on whether he used the word “gunfight” when describing what happened to nurses at the hospital.
Later on Wednesday, Raychides Gomes-Sanches took the stand. He was also in the back seat of the BMW but was not shot.
Sanches said he couldn’t recall the exact number of bullets fired.
“It was a lot,” he testified.
The 34-year-old said after de Abreu was shot, he told him “I’m here man. Don’t die, man,” but his friend “died in my hands.”
Sanches’ testimony was cut short when the defense appealed to a higher court to block it. Before the day was out, however, the court denied the motion and his testimony will continue at some point over the upcoming days.
Cure Lounge bouncer Jamie Furtado also took the stand, saying he saw de Abreu and Hernandez interact just after midnight inside the club, but added that he did not see any hostility between the two.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports