Witness’s Credibility Under Siege at Hernandez Murder Trial

Photo by Jeffrey Beall
Photo by Jeffrey Beall

BOSTON (CN) – An ex-friend of the imprisoned athlete Aaron Hernandez testified Tuesday that his loyalty to the former football player went out the window when Hernandez shot him in the face.

“When it came down to it in the end, I just wasn’t going to go down for something that he did,” Alexander Bradley told the jury, now in its third week of trial. “I had no more loyalty to him. After what he did to me, there was no more. Prior to that, I wouldn’t have cooperated at all.”

With his own criminal record, Bradley is complicated star witness.

Though he has testified that he saw Hernandez pull the trigger on July 16, 2012, killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting, Bradley did not come forward until after the onetime star New England Patriot was arrested in June 2013 for the unrelated murder of Odin Lloyd.

In the months before Lloyd’s shooting, Bradley almost met a similar end when he was shot in the face. He eventually sued Hernandez over his February 2013 shooting, but Hernandez’s phone shows that the men had exchanged hundreds of text messages about the 2012 drive-by in the intervening months.

Prosecutors say Hernandez executed the drive-by because he felt slighted after the victims spilled his drink in the Boston nightclub Cure. Hernandez meanwhile wants the jury to consider that Bradley killed the pair over a drug deal gone bad.

Grilling Bradley on cross-examination Tuesday, defense attorney Jose Baez pointed out that the bulk of the 2013 text messages show Bradley trying to incriminate Hernandez in his face shooting.

“All of these statements are made in anticipation of litigation, correct?” Baez asked.

Bradley agreed but insisted that his injury was the only reason he began cooperating with police on the drive-by case.

Video surveillance from Cure shows that Hernandez and Bradley were in the night club for about nine minutes before the shooting.

While Hernandez says he took a photo with a fan and left, Bradley says de Abreu bumped into Hernandez at some point while dancing, spilling one of the drinks Hernandez was carrying.

Though light on specifics, Bradley testified that nine minutes was enough for all this to occur. “What you’re asking me to do is give you an exact time, which I cannot do,” Bradley said. “I would say we had our drinks within two minutes of entering.”

Bradley was indignant when questioned about how he lost sight of Hernandez in the short time they were at the club. “I didn’t babysit, Mr. Hernandez,” said Bradley.

Judge Jeffrey Locke is presiding over the Hernandez trial in Suffolk Superior Court. The defense had wanted to admit surveillance footage of Bradley firing a gun into the Vevo Lounge after getting shot in the leg, but Locke refused.

“It is remote and it would lead to prejudice or confusion by the jury,” the judge said. 

Though the footage could help the defense establish that Bradley was prone to violence, Locke noted that allowing the video would also compel him to allow Hernandez’s prior conviction for the Lloyd murder.

“It would probably be a wash,” he said.

Bradley’s cross-examination continues Wednesday.

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