Prosecutors in the Massachusetts murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez asked the judge Monday to let them tell jurors about his involvement in a friend’s shooting in Florida, saying it directly contradicts the argument his defense team has presented: He would not shoot a friend.
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh ruled in December that prosecutors could not introduce evidence about the shooting of Alexander Bradley on Feb. 13, 2013, during his murder trial. Hernandez is charged with killing Odin Lloyd four months later, on June 17, 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee when he was shot to death in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home.
In legal papers filed Monday, prosecutors argue that the judge should reconsider. They wrote that Hernandez’s defense team was intentionally distorting the facts and had introduced “a falsehood” to the jury. They said his defense had opened the door to evidence about Bradley’s shooting by repeatedly saying Hernandez couldn’t have killed Lloyd because they were friends.
The filing says Bradley was Hernandez’s “friend and confidante.” It says on the night of the shooting, Bradley, Hernandez and two other men went together to Tootsie’s Cabaret, a strip club in Miami. While there, Hernandez and Bradley got into an argument about how the bar tab would be divided, the filing said.
After they left the club, the filing said, Bradley realized he had left his cellphone there, and Hernandez refused to go back. Bradley then made “disrespectful remarks” about Hernandez, prosecutors said.
“Shortly thereafter, the car pulled over in an isolated industrial area, where Bradley was shot between the eyes. The defendant exited the car and quickly dumped Bradley’s body on the ground before fleeing the scene,” prosecutors’ filing said.
Employees at a nearby John Deere store found Bradley minutes later. Bradley survived, but with serious injuries, including losing an eye. At the time, he refused to cooperate with police, telling them he didn’t know who shot him.
Hernandez has not been charged in Bradley’s shooting, but Bradley sued him.
Prosecutors argued Monday that the shooting showed Hernandez just four months before Lloyd’s killing “shot another one of his friends in response to the most trivial provocation.”
Hernandez’s defense team previously argued against letting the jury hear about the Florida shooting, saying if they were told about it, jurors could jump to the conclusion that Hernandez also shot Lloyd.
“This is precisely the kind of outlandish, flawed reasoning which our criminal justice system prohibits,” they wrote at the time.
The judge didn’t take up the prosecutors’ request Monday, and the defense hasn’t yet replied to the filing.
Hernandez is also charged in the 2012 double murder of two men in Boston after someone spilled a drink on him at a nightclub. He has pleaded not guilty and will be tried later. The judge has ruled that prosecutors in the Lloyd case cannot tell the jury about those slayings.
Bradley has also been mentioned in connection with that case. Police have said surveillance camera recordings show Hernandez and Bradley going into the nightclub shortly after the victims went in. They have said the recordings also show Hernandez driving the SUV out of a nearby parking garage with Bradley as a passenger shortly before the shootings.