Ex-New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to two counts of first degree murder that alleged he gunned down two men in 2012 after a happenstance encounter at a Boston nightclub.
Hernandez, who also faces charges in the 2013 slaying of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, sat straight-faced in the Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court while prosecutors at the arraignment described a scenario in which Hernandez and a friend followed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado from a nightclub in an SUV and shot them after pulling up to a red light. Hernandez is then accused of fleeing the scene to an address in Hartford, Conn., where he exchanged vehicles with the help of his cousin.
Hernandez’s legal team objected to the prosecution’s run-through of the alleged crime, saying that it was “poisoning the jury pool.” One defense lawyer said, “Whether the defendant is a football player or a poor person, it’s not fair.” He also complained of the heavy media presence in the courtroom. “This is not supposed to be a spectacle. This is not supposed to be a sporting contest,” he said.
The judge, however, quickly brushed off Hernandez’s lawyer’s claims, maintaining that the prosecutors did not act out of line and that “he could not envision a proceeding where the press was not allowed to attend. We do not operate behind closed doors.”
The arraignment lasted approximately 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, the victims families sat in the audience. Some looked on stoically or exchanged hugs while others quietly sobbed.
Hernandez’s legal team, however, will now have to switch their attention back to the Lloyd slaying, which is expected to be the first of Hernandez’s cases to go to trial.