By Jenny Wilson
The Hartford Courant
BRISTOL, Conn. — Police seized an SUV from a Bristol home last June because they believed former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was driving the vehicle during a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston and may have been the gunman in the double homicide, court records released Thursday show.
Authorities detailed their case against Hernandez in a 14-page affidavit for the search and seizure of the Toyota 4Runner, believed to be the suspect vehicle, that police found during a search for evidence in the Odin Lloyd murder case. Hernandez faces a murder charge in Lloyd's 2013 slaying, but prosecutors in Suffolk County, Mass. have not filed charges in the Boston case.
Detectives wrote in their search warrant application that they believe Hernandez was driving the vehicle used in the Boston killings and "may have been the shooter."
Authorities from North Attleboro, Mass investigating Hernandez for his role in Lloyd's slaying found the car at a Bristol home owned by the former Patriot's uncle. The vehicle was covered in cobwebs and had been parked in the garage for about a year, police said.
It was a demo model from a rental company that was given to Hernandez in exchange for the star tight end's doing promotions, and company representatives told police that they had tried to contact Hernandez's agent about the car but had not received a response.
A cousin of Hernandez who lives at the house told authorities the vehicle was "Aaron's" and nobody drove it.
Boston police seized the vehicle on June 28, and also executed a search of the home for clothes Hernandez was seen on surveillance footage wearing the night of the incident. The search warrant return indicates police did not find the items of clothing.
Previously released court documents have detailed evidence that Boston authorities used to build their case against Hernandez, including surveillance footage from the night of the crime and interviews with witnesses. Other evidence detectives have gathered in the investigation was redacted in the warrant unsealed Thursday, which only contained information previously disclosed to the public in a search warrant return for recordings of prison phone calls that Alexander Bradley, Hernandez's associate the night of the double homicide, made while he was incarcerated in Connecticut last fall.
Bradley in June filed a civil lawsuit accusing Hernandez of shooting him in the face last February. The two men previously were close friends, and surveillance footage shows them together the night of the double homicide, records indicate.
According to the court documents, Boston police believe Hernandez was in the SUV that circled a block waiting for the victims to enter their own vehicle before the 2 a.m. drive-by shooting. The 4Runner then pulled up next to the victims' car at a stoplight, and someone inside fired five or six shots in rapid progression, killing two and injuring one of the five men in the other car.
Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado were killed in the gunfire early on July 16, 2012, shortly after they left Cure Lounge with three of their friends. Earlier in the night, surveillance footage showed Hernandez and Bradley at the same Boston nightclub. The victims have no apparent connection to Hernandez, a Bristol native, and nothing in the documents suggests a motive for the killings.
Boston police investigating the double homicide in 2012 recognized Hernandez on surveillance footage at the same nightclub as the victims, but apparently thought it was nothing more than a coincidence until they learned of the former NFL star's potential involvement in a different homicide last June.
After Lloyd's death, authorities received an anonymous tip that the incidents were related. The tipster, who was identified as an employee of the nightclub Hernandez and Lloyd visited two days before Lloyd's death, provided a level of information that led authorities to believe he was credible.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 The Hartford Courant