BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The prosecution’s star witness in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial testified that the ex-NFL star fired the shots that killed two men in the shooting at the heart of the case–and then told the court Hernandez shot him in the face because of what he had seen.
Alexander Bradley, a former drug dealer and friend of Hernandez, was seen together with the former New England Patriot the night Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were shot and killed in Boston in July 2012.
Bradley was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony about that double murder.
In court Monday, he detailed the events that led up to the murders, ending with Hernandez firing into Abreu and Furtado’s car because, he said, Hernandez felt they had disrespected him earlier in a club.
Judge Jeffrey Locke offered Abreu and Furtado’s family members, who became emotional during the proceedings, the option to watch Bradley’s testimony in another room.
Seven months after the double murder, Bradley was shot in the face in Florida. He claims Hernandez shot him because he knew too much as a witness to the shootings–and that he didn’t tell police because he wanted revenge on Hernandez.
Hernandez’s lawyers, however, are trying to pin the murders on Bradley, saying the shooting was the result of a botched drug deal.
Bradley said he became friends with Hernandez in 2009, sold him marijuana, and frequently went out with Hernandez to clubs.
Prosecutors asked Bradley about Hernandez’s behavior when the two went out together.
“He acted in a demeanor like a tough guy all the time, is the way I would explain it,” Bradley told the court. “He didn’t really like people staring at him. He had a problem with things that most people don’t have a problem with.”
He said Hernandez complained about people staring at him and “trying” him.
Bradley said Hernandez later asked him to help him buy a gun “to protect himself” as a result of these perceived “trying” incidents. He said he sold Hernandez a silver revolver with a brown handle–much like the alleged murder weapon seen in court a week ago.
On July 15, 2012, the night Abreu and Furtado were murdered, Bradley said Hernandez came to his house in Connecticut in a silver Toyota 4Runner. He said they smoked marijuana and drank, then left to go to Club Cure in Boston, with Bradley driving the SUV.
He said Hernandez put the gun he had sold him “inside the engine…under the hood” of the SUV.
Inside the club, Bradley cited the alleged drink-spilling incident between Abreu and Hernandez.
“He bumped into Mr. Hernandez and his drink splashed up and spilled onto Mr. Hernandez, and some got on myself as well,” he said. “Just like, a splash, more or less.”
He said Hernandez was angry that Abreu didn’t act apologetically or respectfully afterward. They left for another bar, where Bradley said Hernandez was irritated because they believed they were followed.
That’s when Bradley said Hernandez retrieved the gun from inside the hood of the SUV, placing it in the glove box. He said he drove as Hernandez told him to catch up to the BMW in which Abreu and Furtado were sitting.
He claimed he thought that, at most, Hernandez would just intimidate the men.
Instead, he said, Hernandez told him to roll down the window, shouted at the men, and fired five shots. After that, Bradley said the gun began clicking, and Hernandez told Bradley to drive off.
Bradley claimed Hernandez asked him during the ride after, “Did you see that?…I hit one in the head and one in the chest.”
He claimed Hernandez wiped down the gun and threw it out the car window along with the spent shell casings. This conflicts with the prosecution’s story about the gun.
Bradley then said the two drove to a house belonging to the mother of his daughter, where Hernandez pointed out the shooting on the news.
Bradley said Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Singleton, came to the house–and claimed Hernandez told her to take care of the car.
Singleton pleaded guilty in 2014 to contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury that indicted Hernandez in the 2012 killings.
After the murders, Bradley said, Hernandez “became extremely paranoid,” and “thought helicopters were following him everywhere.”
He even claimed Hernandez told him he had nightmares about the murders.
Months later, in Feb. 2013, Bradley said Hernandez bought him a one-way ticket to Florida to attend a Super Bowl party. He said He, Hernandez, and several others attended bars and strip clubs together, and that Hernandez’s paranoia continued on this trip.
At one of these clubs, Bradley said, the group racked up a bill that topped $10,000, and Hernandez became angry because Bradley didn’t want to split it with him.
He said Hernandez shot him in the face and, along with another man, pushed him out of a car after the argument about the bill.
Bradley detailed to the court how he lost his eye and part of his finger in the shooting, as he had put his hand in front of his face in a defensive motion.
He told the court he surprised Hernandez by calling him from the hospital, but didn’t tell police he had pulled the trigger because he wanted to take revenge on Hernandez himself.
“I wanted Mr. Hernandez’s life,” Bradley told the court.
Bradley said he later exchanged texts with Hernandez, and threatened to sue him in March.
Some of those texts were shown on a monitor in court Monday afternoon.
Hernandez’s defense attorney Jose Baez said the texts after murders show “Mr. Bradley trying to extort Mr. Hernandez.”
Hernandez already is serving a life sentence for killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who had been dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, in 2013.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal Reports