Jurors in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez heard harrowing details Thursday about the victims’ fatal injuries during testimony in Suffolk Superior Court.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting as the victims sat in a BMW in Boston’s South End on July 16, 2012.
On the second day of the trial, Boston EMS paramedic Sean Murphy testified that Furtado sustained a gunshot wound to his head and that “parts of [his] brain” were visible on the front passenger seat.
Murphy noted “a hole in the [seat’s] head rest” that suggested a possible exit wound.
Another paramedic, David Cioffi, said de Abreu showed “no signs of life” in the driver’s seat and “had penetrating [gunshot] trauma to the chest.”
“The pupils had no response,” he said.
As news cameras descended on the scene of the shooting, paramedics placed a sheet over the victims’ bodies to protect their dignity.
Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, said that was one of several acts by police and paramedics that compromised the integrity of the crime scene.
Witnesses called by prosecutors conceded under cross examination that the sheets could have altered blood patterns on the victims’ clothing, that police couldn’t be certain no one had stepped on shattered glass near the car, and that a street sweeper passed unnoticed through the crime scene before he was brought back and interviewed by detectives.
But investigators also defended their work, testifying that they scoured the area for ballistics, interviewed witnesses, shut down surrounding blocks, and obtained a preliminary description of the suspect’s vehicle.
“I wouldn’t officially call the scene contaminated just because sheets were placed on the bodies,” said Boston police Sergeant Sean McCarthy.
As witness after witness described de Abreu and Furtado’s injuries, a man in the courtroom section reserved for their families repeatedly placed his head in his hands.
Hernandez’s longtime fiancee Shayanna Jenkins also attended the trial Thursday. Hernandez smiled in her direction when he entered the courtroom.
Jenkins testified for prosecutors in Hernandez’s 2015 trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
On Friday, jurors are scheduled to visit the nightclub where Hernandez first encountered the victims, as well as the intersection where the men were shot. Jurors will also see the Toyota 4Runner that prosecutors say Hernandez was sitting in when he opened fire on the victims’ BMW.
Also testifying Thursday was Boston police Sergeant Clifton McHale. He said that a friend of the victims, Aquilino Freire, stood outside the BMW with a bullet lodged in his forearm.
“He had bloodstains on his shirt and he was crying,” McHale said. “All he did was keep crying.”