Alexander Bradley, the star witness for the state in the trial in Suffolk Superior Court, described a close yet volatile relationship with Hernandez, who is on trial for the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a 2012 drive-by shooting after a brief encounter that prosecutors say stemmed from a spilled drink in a nightclub. The trial will continue Tuesday with Bradley undergoing cross-examination. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the crimes and claims Bradley shot the two men.
Bradley, who has served more than three years of a five-year sentence in Connecticut for a shooting in a Hartford bar, grew close to Hernandez during his playing days at Florida, supplying marijuana and basking in the football player’s reflected glory. While Bradley was a drug dealer, Hernandez was about to navigate fairly seamlessly between being a football star and a street-wise tough guy. In July 2012, the two were out together in a Boston-area bar when, Bradley told jurors Monday, Hernandez became angry when de Abreu bumped Hernandez and caused a drink to splash on him and Bradley. “I knew something was brewing. It was real quick,” Bradley testified. “Maybe a minute, the whole thing.”
When Hernandez saw de Abreu leaving later along with Furtado, Bradley said Hernandez ordered him to follow. Bradley claims that, when he pulled alongside the victims’ car, Hernandez fired five shots, then ran out of ammunition.
“I got one in the head, one in the chest,” Hernandez said after they drove away, according to Bradley. He wiped down the gun with his shirt, then threw it and the shells out the window. “I remember him saying, ‘Don’t tell anybody,'” Bradley testified. “He just said, ‘Don’t say nothing.’”
Their friendship continued and the two partied together during Hernandez’s February 2013 trip to Florida. But a quarrel over a private-room tab and whether to return to a club where Bradley had left his cellphone erupted. Bradley claimed he fell asleep in the car, in which there were two other passengers, and awoke to Hernandez’s gun in his face. He claims that after he was shot Hernandez and another man pulled him from the car and left him to die — and plot his revenge.
Bradley at first refused to identify Hernandez as the man who had shot him. “I didn’t want to talk to the police,” he testified. “I wanted Mr. Hernandez. I wanted his life.” He recalled how he would tell police only that the shooter was “a [expletive]” and phoned Hernandez, who had assumed he was dead.
“He said, ‘Who’s this?'” Bradley said. “I said, ‘You know who this is.’ He was shocked. He definitely didn’t think I would survive.” Hernandez quickly hung up and Bradley, as soon as he recovered and got a prosthetic eye, headed for Connecticut, where Hernandez grew up, to try to meet with him “to make it even.”
Bradley sought money from Hernandez, who refused to return his text messages and calls, and figured Hernandez would be easy to find once training camp started in July 2013. Before then, though, Hernandez shot and killed Odin Lloyd on June 13, 2013, and was arrested shortly after. He is serving a life sentence for that first-degree murder conviction, which is being appealed.