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Aaron Hernandez acquitted in 2012 double murder case

04.14.17 at 3:17 pm ET
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Aaron Hernandez. The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Hernandez was acquitted Friday in 2012 double murder case. The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

A jury cleared Aaron Hernandez Friday of his role in a double murder. The former Patriots tight end was accused of killing two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, in a drive-by shooting in Boston’s Theatre District in July 2012. He’s already serving a life sentence for the Odin Lloyd shooting in June 2013.

Unlike the Lloyd case, where there was an abundance of tangible evidence that tied Hernandez to the crime, the prosecution was forced to rely on a flawed eyewitness during this trial. The defense characterized Alexander Bradley, an admitted drug dealer who says he was in the car when Hernandez shot and killed the two victims, as untrustworthy. He’s currently serving a four-year prison sentence in Connecticut for shooting up a Hartford bar in 2014.

According to Bradley’s testimony, Hernandez became enraged when de Abreu spilled a drink on him and didn’t act apologetically afterwards. Later in the night, when they spotted de Abreu and Furtado in an SUV, Bradley says Hernandez pulled up next to them and fired five bullets into their car. The prosecution contested Hernandez’s body tattoos commemorate the killings.

Though video from that night shows Hernandez and Bradley entering the silver SVU that used during the shooting, there’s no clear evidence Hernandez pulled the trigger. Baez said last week Bradley had an “incentive to lie,” since he was offered immunity to testify against his former friend. Bradley also says Hernandez shot him in the face during a dispute months after the murders. The jury also found Hernandez not guilty of witness intimidation and all other charges except illegal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced four to five years for that offense.

Bradley’s inconsistencies, such as his refuted story about Hernandez getting angry when Abreu spilled the drink on him, appeared to be too much for the jury to overlook. There’s also no DNA evidence that links Hernandez to the crime.

Despite the not guilty verdict, Hernandez will head back behind bars. He intends to appeal the Lloyd murder conviction.

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