Former New England Patriots star player Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty Friday of double murder charges stemming from a 2012 shooting in Boston, Massachusetts.
The 27-year-old tight end was acquitted in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in the city’s South End in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012, the Boston Globe reported.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, for which he was found guilty in April 2015.
The jury on Friday also acquitted Hernandez of witness intimdation for shooting the star’s prosecution witness, Alexander Bradley, in Florida in 2013. However, he was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors had portrayed Hernandez as a wildly impulsive athlete prone to rages over minor slights, especially at the night clubs he frequented. On the night in question, de Abreu bumped into the football pro inside Cure Lounge and spilled a drink on him, following which the Cape Verdean immigrant reportedly smirked at him rather than apologizing.
But jurors were not convinced by the testimony of the prosecution witness, Alexander Bradley, who told the courtroom that he was behind the wheel of Hernandez’s SUV when the then-Pats player fired five shots into the victims’ BMW.
Bradley later accused Hernandez of witness intimidation, which he was also acquitted of.
Meanwhile, Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, dubbed Bradley as “a killer” nicknamed Rock for his habit of “rock[ing] people to sleep,” the Globe reported. Baez instead argued that Bradley — a convicted felon and former friend — shot the victims over a drug deal.
Bradley is currently serving a five-year prison term in Connecticut for firing shots at a Hartford nightclub in 2014.
Less than two months after Furtado and de Abreu were murdered, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the New England Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed.
The Bristol, Connecticut, native was quickly dropped from the team despite his outstanding record on the field in the wake of the Lloyd murder charges in June 2013.