A man who claims he was “covered with blood” after surviving a ruinous 2012 double homicide pointed to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez as the man responsible for pulling the trigger.
However, the NFL star’s high-priced legal team does not want that man to take the stand once the trial starts February 13.
Hernandez’ lead defense attorney, Jose Baez, in fact questioned Raychides Sanches during a motion hearing yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court. Sanches was riding in a car with Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu at the time they were gunned down after leaving a South End nightclub.
“What did the shooter look like?” Baez asked.
“Looked like him,” Sanches replied, nodding in the direction of the defense table where Hernandez was seated. “Hernandez.”
During more than an hour of dramatic testimony, Sanches told the court he watched his two longtime friends die before his eyes. He said “there was screaming, crying, crazy.”
After asked by Baez if he was splattered with blood, Sanches responded: “Hell yeah, a lot of blood.”
According to Sanches, the shooting started when a man approached their car, said “What’s up, Negro?” and opened fire, causing a car window to explode. He said the gunman was “light-skinned” with a “thin face, younger than him, clean-shaven and wearing a hat with a design on it.” “Him” being Hernandez
The second victim (who actually survived), Aquilino Freire, recalls getting shot twice twice and remembers the shooter firing with his left hand. He also describes the shooter as light-skinned, with no beard and sporting tattoos.
Family members of both victims were present and became very sentimental as the witnesses recounted their loved ones’ deaths. One woman began sobbing uncontrollably during Sanches’ testimony and glared and shook her fist at Hernandez as she stepped outside.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 murder of Odin L. Lloyd.
During questioning, Baez continuously pressed the witnesses on how much of their testimony was based on first-hand recall and how much was influenced by media coverage.
Both Sanches and Freire said they watched television coverage related to Hernandez and saw a TMZ photo of the former NFL star taking a mirror selfie with the phone in one hand, and a gun in the other.
The defense argued their testimony is unreliable and should ultimately be excluded.
“I don’t see how there is anything you can glean from these witnesses at all,” Baez told reporters. “The second you are getting your evidence from TMZ, you’ve got a problem.”
The prosecution sought to distinguish through the two men’s recollection of recorded statements to police and which information was given prior to Sanches or Freire seeing any of the media coverage.
“It’s unprecedented to exclude something like that,” prosecutor Teresa Anderson said, referring to barring Sanches and Freire from testifying. She said any inconsistencies in witness testimony should be “fodder for cross-examination.”
Judge Jeffrey Locke stated he would take the motion under advisement. The two sides are due back in court on December 27 to argue additional pre-trial motions.
Hernandez’s attorneys also made a motion yesterday looking to push the trial from its scheduled date, February 13, to September.
“Before I deny your motion, do you want to be heard?” judge Locke asked, getting a few laughs from the gallery.