BOSTON >> A former friend of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez told the jury at Hernandez’s double-murder trial today that he opened fire on a car because he believed two men inside had taunted him at a nightclub.
Alexander Bradley testified about the shootings on July 16, 2012. Bradley said Hernandez ordered him to pull up next to the victims’ car at a stop light and then repeatedly fired a revolver into the car. Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu were killed.
Relatives of the men wept as Bradley testified, prompting Judge Jeffrey Locke to call for a brief recess.
Bradley said Hernandez used a racial epithet and said, “What’s up now?” before firing.
The Boston Globe reported that Bradley also testified that Hernandez “felt people thought he was soft” and he wanted to prove them wrong.
The former New England Patriots tight end is accused of killing the men after de Abreu accidentally bumped into him and spilled his drink at the Boston club. He also is accused of shooting Bradley in the face months later after he became worried that Bradley would tell authorities about the earlier shootings and is charged with witness intimidation. Bradley lost an eye in the shooting.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. During opening statements to the jury, his lawyer pointed the finger at Bradley, saying he shot Furtado and de Abreu over a drug deal.
Bradley is serving a five-year prison sentence for shooting up a bar in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2014. No one was hurt.
He admitted being a marijuana dealer in his testimony Monday and said he supplied the drug to Hernandez for free before he joined the NFL. The two were close friends who went to nightclubs together, played video games and visited the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Hernandez is serving a life sentence in the 2013 fatal shooting of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Bradley testified that Hernandez became paranoid and said he had nightmares after the 2012 shooting but also gave himself the nickname Double A in reference to the double homicide.
“He thought helicopters were following him everywhere went,” Bradley said. “He just thought there was a complete police presence around him all the time.”