Dec. 20, 2016: Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez appears with attorney Jose Baez during a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court.
(Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald)
BOSTON – A man who survived a fatal 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston identified former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in court on Tuesday as the person who pulled the trigger.
The judge presiding over the forthcoming murder trial, and also denied a bid by the lawyer of Hernandez to push back in February to start.
The prosecutors asked Raychides Sanches Tuesday during the pro forma session to describe the chaotic scene on the night of July 16, 2012.
Sanches said that he had been a passenger in a car stopped at a light in the city’s south side when an SUV pulled up. He said one of the SUV said, “What’s up, negroes?” and then gunfire erupted.
Sanches says the bullets hit the 29-year-old Daniel de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Furtado.
On the question of who the shooter was, Sanchez nodded in the direction of Hernandez in Suffolk Superior Court, the Boston Herald reported.
“It seemed to him,” he said. “Hernandez.”
Another survivor of the shooting, Aquilino Freire, told the court he was shot twice and described the shooter as light-skinned, no beard, but tattoos.
Hernandez, faced with two murders in the deaths of Furtado and Abreu.
Prosecutors say he shot the two men after one of them bumped into him at a Boston nightclub earlier that night. The former tight end has pleaded not guilty.
Hernandez already is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 shooting death of semi-professional football player Lloyd Odin.
Tuesday’s hearing focused on a number of pre-trial issues as jury selection is scheduled to begin in February. 13.
Prosecutors will ask the judge to Sanchez and Freire to give a general description of the shooter during the trial period.
Defense lawyers argued that the attorney-client privilege may have been violated because prison officials have acknowledged Hernandez’s jailhouse calls were accessed by unauthorized persons while he was awaiting his first murder trial.
Hernandez is due back in court for another hearing Dec. 27.