BOSTON – Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was due in court for a pretrial hearing in the drive-by killings of two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.
Prosecutors say Hernandez fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after one of them apparently spilled a drink on him in the club. They say Hernandez and a friend later found the men waiting in their car at a red light. He allegedly fired at least five shots into the car, killing the two men and injuring a third.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the killings, which came about six weeks before he signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots. The team has since released the former University of Florida standout.
Hernandez is also charged in the 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating his fiancée’s sister. Lloyd’s bullet-ridden body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home last summer.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in Lloyd’s killing. His trial in that case is scheduled for October.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, said Thursday afternoon’s hearing is expected to be “purely administrative in nature,” as both sides prepare for a May 2015 trial. He said prosecutors are not expected to file any motions.
Hernandez’s lawyers declined to comment on the hearing Thursday morning. They have told the judge previously that they don’t plan to file any motions until after the Lloyd trial wraps up in Bristol County court in Fall River.