Aaron Hernandez has been identified as the triggerman by one of the only remaining survivors in a 2012 drive-by shooting that left two men dead.
Already serving a life sentence for the execution-style killing of former associate Odin Lloyd, the former New England Patriots star tight end is slated to soon go on trial for the murders of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu outside a Boston nightclub in the summer of that year.
Raychides Sanches recently took the stand in Suffolk Superior Court to testify that he was a passenger in the vehicle the two victims were riding in when an SUV pulled up alongside them at a red light in the city’s South End and someone uttered “What’s up, Negroes?” before a shooter he identified as Hernandez opened fire.
Authorities have long theorized that Hernandez targeted the two men because one of them spilled a drink on him in the club earlier that night and failed to apologize.
“We were in a panic,” Raychides said of the chaotic scene that ensued and before pointing out Hernandez as the primary perpetrator. Another survivor of the shooting, Aquilino Freire, told the court he was shot twice. He described the shooter as light skinned, with no beard and tattoos.
During that same hearing, prosecutors also asked the judge to allow Sanches and Freire to give a general description of the shooter during trial.
The 27-year-old Hernandez is already serving a lifetime sentence without the possibility of parole in the 2013 killing of Lloyd, with speculation being the semi-pro football player may have been slain because he knew too much about other violent crimes Hernandez is suspected of having been involved in.
Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was discovered in an industrial park not far from the mansion Hernandez then called home.
At the upcoming trial, Alexander Bradley is slated to take the stand as a defense star witness, where he is expected to testify that he was with Hernandez on the night of the shooting and detail how the two allegedly circled the neighborhood nonstop until they spotted the victims leaving the nightclub.
Hernandez is also charged with witness intimidation for allegedly shooting Alexander in the face soon after that, presumably to coerce him into remaining silent. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is due back in court for his next hearing just after Christmas on Dec. 27.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys have moved to contend that attorney-client privilege laws for their client have been violated in the case stemming from prison officials acknowledging that at least some of Hernandez’s jailhouse calls were accessed while he was awaiting trial in the Lloyd case.
Attorneys for Hernandez are now seeking to grill authorities from Securus Technologies, the company that operated the hacked phone databases, about the breach.
Hernandez is also suing the company, specifically alleging that his calls from the Suffolk House of Corrections were hacked by an unknown person while he awaiting trial there in connection with the Lloyd case.
At the time of his initial arrest, Hernandez had only recently signed a $40 million extension with the Patriots as one of star quarterback Tom Brady’s primary targets. The deal was voided by the Patriots after Hernandez was taken into custody.
Since being jailed, Hernandez has also had his share of troubles, including once being charged with threatening to kill a guard and his family at the height of a heated dispute.
Hernandez was also relegated to solitary confinement for a while after he was involved in a brawl with another prisoner where he allegedly punched the man while he was still handcuffed.
[Featured Image by Jared Wickersham/Getty Images]