A professional American football player who earned over $40million-a-year has been charged with two counts of murder – while standing trial over the death of another man.
Aaron Hernandez, who is already accused of killing Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his fiancée’s sister in 2013, was yesterday charged on two counts of first-degree murder relating to the deaths of two Boston men in 2012.
In addition to the murder charges, Hernandez faces three counts of armed assault with intent to murder, one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and a charge for unlawfully carrying a gun also brought against him, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley.
The murder charges relate to the death of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were fatally shot while driving their car in 2012.
According to Mr Conley, 24-year-old Hernadez allegedly pulled up beside the men and opened fire after a disagreement had broken out between the three men earlier in a club nearby.
Mr Conley said De Abreu, the driver of the car, was shot several times and died of a shot to the chest, while Furtado died after being shot in the head.
Another man was also wounded in the incident that took place in the early hours of the morning of July 16 2012.
Indications that authorities were pursuing Hernandez in connection to the murders came in January when documents were unsealed in a court.
In these papers it was suggested that Hernandez had been the man responsible for pulling the trigger on the two men.
Following this, in February the families of the Furtado and Abreu filed a $6 million wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez.
The news of the murder charges being brought against Hernandez were welcomed by both men’s families, who thanked the justice system for beginning to move towards bringing about justice for the deceased pair.
Last June, Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd after the 27-year-old’s body was found with multiple gunshot wounds in an industrial park in Massachusetts.
Odin, who was the boyfriend of Hernandez’s fiancée’s sister, was last seen with Hernandez in the early hours of June 17 before his body was discovered later that day.
According to First Assistant District Attorney for the case, Bill McCauley, Hernandez had “drove the victim to the remote spot, and then he orchestrated his execution.”
Hernandez pleaded not guilty but was ordered to be held without bail by the judge.
As a result of the charge, the New England Patriots, who won the Superbowl in 2004, American Football’s marquee event, decided to release Hernadez from his four-year contract which was said to be worth in the region of $41 million (£24 million).
The 24-year-old began his football career as a talented college player for the University of Florida and was quickly identified as a potential NFL star of the future.
In 2010 he was drafted by the Boston-based New England Patriots, where he became the youngest player to play in the NFL during the 2010 season before becoming a regular for the team.