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Aaron Hernandez charged with Florida shooting

Victim may have seen Hub slayings

Aaron Hernandez has been charged under the state’s witness intimidation statute.
Aaron Hernandez has been charged under the state’s witness intimidation statute.DOMINICK REUTER/EPA

Aaron Hernandez allegedly shot a friend in Florida in February 2013 after the man made a comment about an earlier double murder in Boston that the former New England Patriots star is charged with committing, and which the man may have witnessed, prosecutors said Monday.

District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said Hernandez, 25, who was convicted in April of killing Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough in June 2013, was indicted Friday on a charge related to the Florida shooting.

The indictment provides the first link between the killing of two men in Boston’s South End in July 2012 and the shooting of the possible witness, Alexander Bradley.

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Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and weapons charges in the fatal shootings on July 16, 2012, of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the South End. A lawyer for Hernandez declined to comment on Monday.

In a statement, Conley’s office did not identify Bradley by name but said Hernandez was indicted on a charge of shooting “a percipient witness” to the Boston murders. The witness was shot in the face on Feb. 13, 2013, near Riviera Beach, Fla., prosecutors said.

Bradley has filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing Hernandez of shooting him in the face on that date.

In addition, Bradley was the passenger in Hernandez’s vehicle in 2012 when Hernandez allegedly pulled up alongside a car that de Abreu and Furtado were in and allegedly opened fire, prior court filings have shown.

Suffolk prosecutors are charging Hernandez under the state’s witness intimidation statute with shooting Bradley. Florida authorities did not pursue charges after Bradley initially told police he could not identify the shooter.

According to Conley’s office, Hernandez shot Bradley after “the witness made a remark about the [July 2012] homicides.” Prosecutors did not provide details about the remark.

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Bristol County prosecutors, who won a first-degree murder conviction of Hernandez in Lloyd’s slaying, had said in legal filings that Hernandez shot Bradley after they argued over a bar tab, and Bradley later “made disrespectful remarks about” Hernandez.

A spokesman for Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn declined to comment on Monday.

Bradley, who is jailed in Connecticut on unrelated gun charges, is expected to testify against Hernandez in the Boston double-murder trial. He also testified against him in the Lloyd case.

Hernandez is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, though he is entitled to an automatic appeal before the state’s highest court.

In the Lloyd trial, Bradley was barred from mentioning the Florida shooting but testified that Hernandez handled what appeared to be a Glock firearm in a hotel room earlier during the same trip to that state. Lloyd was killed with a .45 caliber Glock near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home four months later.

David Jaroslawicz, a lawyer representing Bradley in his lawsuit, said he was puzzled that Hernandez had been charged criminally with shooting his client, since Hernandez is serving a life sentence.

“What are you going to do, life plus twenty?” he said.

Hernandez also faces wrongful death lawsuits from the families of Lloyd, de Abreu, and Furtado.

William T. Kennedy, a lawyer for the Boston victims’ families, said his clients are pained by each new development in the Hernandez saga.

“It’s like themselves being stabbed in the heart again,” Kennedy said. “They’re aware of the news. It appears that Mr. Bradley was also part of the mountain of evidence” tying Hernandez to the double homicide.

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Douglas Sheff, a lawyer for Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, declined to say whether Lloyd had any knowledge of the Boston double murders.

“This impulsive, violent behavior seems to fit a pattern for Mr. Hernandez,” Sheff said. “Ursula and her family wonder what would possess someone to commit atrocities, especially someone who had reached incredible heights in his career and his life. Everyone is struggling to make sense of it all.”

According to Suffolk prosecutors, Hernandez shot de Abreu and Furtado after de Abreu bumped into Hernandez at a Boston nightclub, causing Hernandez to spill some of his drink.

John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.