Aaron Hernandez leaned over from the passenger seat of his Toyota 4Runner and fired repeatedly into the BMW sedan stopped on a South End street, pulling the trigger until he had emptied a silver revolver, a former friend testified Monday.
In one of the most dramatic moments of the double murder trial of the former New England Patriots star tight end, Alexander Bradley described the July 16, 2012, shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Relatives of the victims cried as they listened to the testimony.
Bradley calmly recounted how Hernandez believed the victims were taunting him at a nightclub and how he ordered Bradley to drive up next to the victims’ car.
Bradley said that Hernandez “extended his body out the window,” braced himself, and twice said, “Yo.” Then, the witness testified, Hernandez said “What’s up now, [expletive],” and began shooting.
After five shots, the revolver clicked, and Hernandez said, “C’mon let’s go!” Bradley recalled. Then, Bradley said, Hernandez frantically told him to drive off.
“He said ‘I hit one in the head and one in the chest,’ ” Bradley testified. “He was panicked. . . . It wasn’t a bragging tone, it was more like shock. I was panicked as well.”
Bradley, who is in a Connecticut prison for shooting up a Hartford nightclub in 2014, is testifying under an immunity agreement. The defense contends that Bradley, Hernandez’s former marijuana supplier, shot de Abreu and Furtado over a drug deal.
Hernandez, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. He has also pleaded not guilty to a witness intimidation charge for allegedly shooting Bradley in Florida in February 2013, in an effort to silence him about the killings.
With Hernandez occasionally glaring at him from the defense table, Bradley described the ensuing hours when Hernandez allegedly wiped down the murder weapon and threw it from the window of the 4Runner before they arrived at the Manchester, Conn., apartment of Bradley’s girlfriend.
Hernandez watched early news accounts of the slayings until his cousin, Tanya Singleton, arrived at the apartment, Bradley said. Hernandez told Singleton to clean the 4Runner and “hide it,” Bradley said, and Hernandez drove off in Singleton’s car.
In the months that followed, Bradley testified, Hernandez told him he was having nightmares about the shootings. He also gave himself the moniker “double A” in reference to the two killings, Bradley said.
In addition, Hernandez began to think police were constantly tracking him, sometimes by helicopter, and he instituted a “no iPhone rule” among friends, since he heard iPhones could record all conversations.
“He assumed everybody was a detective,” Bradley said. “His paranoia was heightened.”
Bradley said he bore the brunt of that paranoia in February 2013 in Florida, after making a reference to “the stupid [expletive] you did in Boston.”
The following night, Bradley said, he and Hernandez and two other men visited a Miami-area strip club, and on the way home argued about going back to retrieve Bradley’s cellphone; Hernandez refused.
Bradley testified that he fell asleep in the back seat and later awoke in a warehouse area to find “Mr. Hernandez pointing a gun in my face.”
Hernandez fired, Bradley said, hitting him in the eye, and then pushed him out of the vehicle. Bradley lost his right eye in the shooting.
He initially refused to cooperate with police while he was being treated in a Florida hospital. On Monday, Bradley chuckled on the witness stand when he recounted calls he placed to Hernandez from his hospital bed.
Hernandez, Bradley said, was “shocked. He definitely didn’t think I was alive still.”
He said he wanted revenge and warned Hernandez, “when I get right I’m coming back home, and you know what time it is.”
Earlier Monday, Bradley testified that he bought Hernandez a .357 revolver several weeks before the killings, with money Hernandez supplied. He said Hernandez indicated he was “tired of people . . . trying him,” or testing him, at clubs.
On the night of the double-shooting, Bradley said, de Abreu had bumped into Hernandez and spilled part of a drink on the athlete at Cure Lounge in the Theater District.
Hernandez, Bradley said, “turned in a manner in which he was going to [start] a confrontation about it.” But de Abreu, he said, just “smirked” before moving on.
Furtado, 28, and de Abreu, 29, both of Dorchester, were killed about two hours later.
The testimony by the star prosecution witness lasted roughly six hours. Lawyers for Hernandez will cross examine Bradley Tuesday.
Hernandez is serving a life sentence for the June 2013 fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd. An appeal of his first-degree murder conviction in that case will be heard at a later date.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.