BOSTON (CN) – Opening arguments kick off Wednesday for Aaron Hernandez after a Massachusetts court spent two weeks fielding a jury for the imprisoned former New England Patriots star’s second murder trial.
Attorneys are expected to deliver their statements this morning after the Suffolk County Superior Court swears in the 16 selected jurors, four of whom are alternates.
Hernandez’s trial on a drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End comes two years into his life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
As with Lloyd, prosecutors say the carnage erupted after Hernandez felt disrespected at a nightclub. Here Hernandez is said to have followed five men out of the club Cure on July 16, 2012, because they did not apologize for spilling Hernandez’s drink when one of them bumped into him.
Hernandez allegedly opened fire on the BMW being driven by the five men, killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
The 27-year-old former football star has tapped attorney Jose Baez to lead his defense. Baez famously and successfully defended Casey Anthony in Florida on murder charges after the death of her 2-year-old daughter.
Judge Jeffrey Locke is presiding over the Hernandez trial, with Suffolk’s First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan leading the case alongside ADA Mark Lee, deputy chief of the DA’s homicide unit, and ADA Teresa Anderson, of the DA’s appellate division.
The prosecution’s star witness is Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Hernandez’s who says he was in the car with Hernandez when he opened fire on de Abreu and Furtado.
Ahead of the trial, Hernandez reached a settlement with Bradley on claims that the NFL pro shot him in the face on Feb. 13, 2013.
In something of a trend for violence involving Hernandez, this shooting also occurred at a club, the Miami Gardens strip joint Tootsie’s Cabaret.
Court records show that it was shortly after this shooting that Bradley began texting Hernandez about the 2012 drive-by. Hernandez fought unsuccessfully to exclude the cellphone containing evidence of those texts from his upcoming trial.
Prosecutors also plan to submit two of Hernandez’s tattoos as evidence.
One of the tattoos, which Hernandez is said to have gotten in March or April 2013, depicts a gun with five rounds in the chamber.
That is the same number of shots fired into de Abreu and Safiro’s BMW.
The tattoo also has the words “God forgives,” which the commonwealth claims is essentially an admission of guilt. The words are backward so that they can be read in a mirror.
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