Jim's Blog

Aaron Hernandez Found Not Guilty in Second Murder Charge : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan

So, remember when you were a little kid and your Mom didn’t want you to play football because you could get hurt?  Remember how she said the big kids on the field were too mean?  Well, she was right. Even though former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez was acquitted of two additional murder charges this week, more evidence surfaced during the trial that this is one dangerous man.  Hernandez was recently found not guilty of a double murder charge dating from 2012. He is already serving a life sentence for a murder he committed in 2013.

Aaron Hernandez in courtProsecutors had claimed that Hernandez killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado over a spilled drink. They argued that Hernandez shot into the car the victims were in because he felt disrespected when one of the men bumped into him and spilled his drink at a Boston nightclub. Hernandez was also acquitted Friday of shooting his one-time close friend Alexander Bradley in the face months later to try to keep him from testifying against him. Bradley had been in the car with Hernandez when he supposedly fired the shots and lost his right eye in the later shooting.

Hernandez was charged with eight counts including two of murder and three of armed assault, but was only convicted of the gun charge. Defense attorneys argued that Bradley, an admitted drug dealer, shot the men over a drug deal. The defense hammered at Bradley’s credibility, citing his immunity deal with prosecutors to testify against Hernandez, his role as the driver of the car the night of the shootings and his criminal record. Bradley is serving a five-year prison term in Connecticut for firing shots at a Hartford nightclub in 2014. Bradley claimed Hernandez became enraged after de Abreu bumped into him while dancing. He said Hernandez later opened fire on the men’s car as they waited at a stoplight.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson, a former teammate of Hernandez’s at the University of Florida, testified at the trial about the friendship between Hernandez and Bradley. Prosecutors introduced evidence at the trial that Hernandez got a tattoo which they believe memorialized the double slaying.  California tattoo artist David Nelson testified that Hernandez requested an image of a revolver with the gun barrel facing forward.  Hernandez wanted five bullets visible in the cylinder of the gun and one cylinder empty, Nelson said.  Authorities said Hernandez fired five shots from a revolver into the car carrying de Abreu and Furtado.

When the verdict was announced Hernandez wept quietly.  One of his defense attorneys hugged him as relatives of the victim in the case began to sob loudly.  It took the jury six days to decide that Hernandez was not guilty of first-degree murder in the killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.  The jury did convict him of the unlawful possession of a .38-caliber revolver and the judge gave him an additional four to five years in prison, separate from his existing life sentence. So I guess that means when he dies, he has to come back and serve more time. No, but it does mean that if the guilty verdict in his previous trial is ever overturned or commuted, he will still have to do time on the gun charge.

Ronald Sullivan, one of the Hernandez defense attorneys, said he was delighted about the verdict and that Hernandez was relieved. “He was charged for something somebody else did, and that is a weighty burden for anyone to shoulder.”

Another Hernandez attorney, Jose Baez, is known for having secured an acquittal in 2011 for Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

 

Aaron Hernandez wearing New England Patriots uniform

 

Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd (left), a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Prosecutors in the double-murder trial weren’t allowed to mention his conviction in Lloyd’s case. In that trial, jurors deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before convicting Hernandez of murder.

Odin Lloyd, 27 was found executed in an industrial park near Hernandez’s mansion.  In that case prosecutors maintained that Hernandez was high when he killed Lloyd.  They cited a security surveillance video that was taken at the gas station where Hernandez bought a cigar and bubble gum twenty minutes before he picked up Odin Lloyd.  Lloyd, 27, a semi-professional football player, was found dead later that same day in an industrial park close to the former football star’s mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.  ‘He danced in his own headlights for so long the gas station attendant turned off the outside lights to get rid of him,’ said a high-ranking law enforcement source. ‘He was apparently high, or very much appeared to be.’  Court records filed by investigators in the case state that video shows Hernandez stopped at the Blue Hill Express Service Station at 2.09 am on June 17, 2015.  Investigative sources at the time said that Hernandez was a heavy user of PCP, alcohol and hydroponic marijuana. A manager at the Blue Hill Express Service Station who asked not to be identified confirmed the dancing video, and said all of the security footage had been turned over to investigators.

Footage from the home’s security system was discovered showing Aaron Hernandez with a gun

 

 

ATF agents launched a federal probe into weapons found at Hernandez’s home. Footage from the home’s security system was discovered showing Hernandez with a gun.

 

 

 

 

Alexander Bradley, claimed Aaron Hernandez blew out his eye

 

Alexander Bradley, left, who claimed Hernandez blew out his eye, testified to a grand jury that Hernandez was the gunman in the fatal drive-by in Boston in 2012

Aaron Hernandez grew up in a tough neighborhood in Bristol, Connecticut, and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012.  He was a fourth round draft pick About six weeks after Furtado and de Abreu were killed, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed.  In all, Hernandez played three years in the NFL catching 175 passes for 18 touchdowns. He was cut from the team shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd’s killing in June 2013. He was not charged in the 2012 killings until 2014.  Hernandez has appealed for a new trial in that case.

 

Hernandez’s troubles were well known, long before the Patriots selected him in the fourth round.  Running a background check on prospects is not uncommon. Generally,  if a player has character issues, the teams interested in him have many opportunities to find them out before the NFL draft

Hernandez left Bristol for Gainesville a year after his father, Dennis, died after complications from hernia surgery. Hernandez has said his father’s death affected him deeply, and sent him on a self-destructive path; his older brother, D.J., did everything he could to keep Aaron focused on football and school. The scout said Hernandez had long been around “street activity,” and once his father died, it gave him reason to act out.

Aaron HernandezNot long after arriving at Florida, Hernandez was questioned in connection with a shooting outside of a nightclub, the scout said, but nothing came of it.  He was suspended for one game during his Gators career for failing a drug test; the scout said a suspension isn’t usually handed down until the third or fourth failed test.

After the Patriots drafted Hernandez in the fourth round in 2010, the Boston Globe quoted one NFL executive who suggested he had failed four to six drug tests in his college career. Hernandez released a statement after that report was published, saying he only failed one test.  A second scout, who worked for an AFC team before the 2010 draft, said Hernandez’s marijuana and character problems were the worst-kept secret in the scouting community.

“It was pretty well known that he had failed some drug tests at Florida, and there were questions about his maturity that come along with that,” the scout said. “You worried about the people he hung out with.”

Though the first scout said Hernandez’s friends from Connecticut made visits to Florida, one former Florida staffer said then-coach Urban Meyer “didn’t let anyone in” to the program who wasn’t part of a player’s support circle.  “[Hernandez] was extremely young when he got there for us, we knew that, but it seemed like he had turned a corner and was maturing,” the former Gators staffer said. “We knew there were things to work through. Hard-working kid, guys on team loved him. He’s a tough guy; he didn’t take crap off anybody, but never to the lines of what’s being talked about [now].  “One of Urban’s strengths, he can see a kid like that and reach them like others can’t.”

Aaron Hernandez smiling in court

 

A third scout recalled that Hernandez was considered the toughest kid on the Gators’ roster and “no one will mess with him.”  Despite those question marks, New England made Hernandez the 113th pick in the draft, getting what many considered to be a player with first-round talent for a fourth-round price tag.

It didn’t take long for Hernandez’s quick temper to be revealed at Gillette Stadium. According to an NFL source, within days of being drafted, Hernandez was at the team facility trying to watch film.  When he couldn’t figure out how to use the equipment, he asked how it worked, but got no answer. When Wes Welker walked by the room, Hernandez asked for his help, but Welker said, “Rookie, you figure it out.”  Hernandez responded with expletives.

Hernandez spent little, if any, time with his Patriots teammates off the field, opting to spend his time with those same friends who used to visit him in Gainesville and have known him for years.

Aaron Hernandez in court

Granted, Aaron Hernandez is an unusual, isolated case, but investigations into professional football players committing violence is not.  One cannot say that the NFL encourages violence among its players, but the attitude and energy expected of those who play the game definitely leans that way.  While the NFL may not create the violence in its players, it certainly knows how to harvest those tendencies.  No one ever says that being a violent man by nature hinders one’s career in football.  Aaron Hernandez has been richly rewarded throughout his life for his violent nature.  But it seems to have caught up with him in the end.

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The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com. Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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