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Aaron Hernandez pleads not guilty to double-murder charge

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

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Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arraigned Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court on seven charges, including two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 drive-by shooting deaths of two men on the streets of Boston.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the charges, which also included three counts of armed assault with intent to murder, and one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Hernandez was indicted on the double-murder charge earlier this month. During a May 15 press conference, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley explained that the victims, who didn't know Hernandez, were at the same nightclub as the former NFL player on the night of the murders.

“Mr. (Daniel) Abreu and Mr. (Safiro) Furtado were ambushed and executed as they drove home. Aaron Hernandez is the principal, the shooter, and the person responsible for taking the lives of the two victims." Conley said at the time.

Conley said that as Abreu and Furtado left the nightclub around 2 a.m., they were followed by Hernandez, who was in an SUV. As Abreau and Furtado stopped at a red light, the SUV that carried Hernandez pulled up on the right and Hernandez opened fire with a .38 caliber revolver. Abreu, who was driving, was shot multiple times, including a fatal shot to the chest. Furtado, in the front passenger seat, was also shot multiple times, including a fatal shot to the head. Three of the five passengers in the car were shot.

The reason for the shooting, as explained Wednesday by Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan:

More details:

* The next morning, Haggan said, Hernandez checked media reports about the shooting and called his cousin to pick up the SUV used in the killings. Hernandez, who has been in jail since last summer and is currently awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, then rented a car, which he also did the day after he allegedly shot Lloyd.

* Cell phone records put Hernandez at the scene of the double-murder.

* The judge denied a request to remove Hernandez's handcuffs during the arraignment.

In addition to the families of Abreau and Furtado, Lloyd's mother, as well as Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, were in the courtroom.

* Via the Associated Press: "Authorities have not said if there is any connection between the 2012 killings and Lloyd's slaying. Lloyd's body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough. Lloyd was dating a sister of Hernandez's fiancee."

* Hernandez's next hearing is set for June 24.

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