At a time when a grand jury in Bristol County, Massachusetts likely is closing in on an indictment of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a grand jury in Suffolk County, Massachusetts could likewise indict Hernandez for the July 2012 shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu.
Two unnamed law-enforcement officials tell Maria Cramer of the Boston Globe that prosecutors have begun making the case to a grand jury that Hernandez should be charged with two more counts of murder.
The process involves evidence only from the prosecution, with no defense presented by Hernandez’s lawyers and a low standard of proof. If the grand jury believes probable cause exists to conclude that Hernandez is guilty, the grand jury can issue an indictment.
Still, few prosecutors seek an indictment unless they believe that the higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be met at trial.
Absent testimony from one or more persons who witnessed Hernandez fire the shots that killed Furtado and Abreu, the case against Hernandez will be based on circumstantial evidence. That doesn’t mean he’ll be acquitted; still, it’s always easier to prove the case when there’s a witness who can credibly say that he or she saw the defendant do what he allegedly did.
The leak comes at a convenient time for prosecutors in Bristol County, creating an unwanted distraction during the last-minute preparations by Hernandez’s legal team for Wednesday’s probable cause hearing in the Odin Lloyd murder case.