Lawyers for the families of two men who died shortly after an altercation with late former Patriot Aaron Hernandez are now asking the Patriots for compensation. The families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who died in a drive-by shooting in July 2012, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez’s estate, and made the request of the Patriots as part of a Tuesday hearing in Suffolk (Mass.) Superior Court.
“We would welcome the Patriots looking into that issue and doing the right thing, which is to compensate the victims,” said Kenneth Kolpan, one of the attorneys, according to the Boston Globe.
Hernandez committed suicide in April while in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was found guilty of murdering Lloyd in June 2013, and evidence that turned up during that investigation led police to the unsolved murders of de Abreu and Furtado. Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, has filed a separate suit against Hernandez’s estate, and has called on the Patriots to contribute $6 million she claims New England still owes to Hernandez’s estate. Those funds would then be available for any civil suit claimants. Hernandez was a member of the Patriots at the time of the three deaths.
However, attorneys for Hernandez’s estate have rejected the families’ claims, saying that Massachusetts law does not permit civil suits against a deceased defendant. Further complicating the claims is the fact that, legally speaking, Hernandez was not liable for any of the deaths: he was found not guilty of murdering de Abreu and Furtado in early April. After his subsequent suicide, the conviction for the murder of Lloyd—which was under appeal at the time of Hernandez’s death—was vacated.
The Hernandez matter will go on for some time. A judge in the families’ claims has set a deadline of July 2018 for the families to complete discovery proceedings in the case. The question facing all sides is whether there is even any money to collect; the estate was empty at the time of Hernandez’s death, and there is no assurance of pensions or other income to the estate other than the sale of Hernandez’s $1 million North Attleboro, Massachusetts home.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.