Victims’ families to move forward with civil cases against Hernandez

Ernesto Abreu (left) and Salvador Furtado (right) speak to the media with their attorney, William Kennedy (center) about the double murder charges against Aaron Hernandez.

QUINCY, Mass. (WPRI) — The families of two men gunned down in Boston back in 2012 intend to move forward with their civil cases against Aaron Hernandez, their attorney announced Wednesday.

Hernandez, 27, was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center early Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time later.

The former NFL star’s death came just days after he was acquitted of the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Both families were in court for the duration of the trial.

Billy Kennedy, the attorney representing the victims’ families, said Wednesday that the civil cases against Hernandez will move forward, despite the outcome of the criminal case and his subsequent death.

Kennedy said the families don’t take any joy in the loss of Hernandez, but they do believe he was responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

“Every day that he said he was in court it was like reliving the death of his son again, and certainly when the verdict came in that increased the pain with the thought that person that was believed to be responsible was not going to be held accountable,” Kennedy said at a news conference Wednesday, on behalf of Salvador Furtado, father of Safiro Furtado.

Kennedy said he filed the wrongful death suit long before Hernandez’s criminal trial began.

The family of the man Hernandez killed in 2013 is also planning to continue with their lawsuit.

Doug Sheff, the attorney for the mother of Odin Lloyd, said the civil case is moving “full-speed ahead,” and is in the pretrial stage. He said Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, still forgives Hernandez for her son’s death, and is driven by her religion.

“She’s a woman of great faith and she’s resolute and she believes everything happens for a reason,” Sheff said. “She feels badly for anyone negatively affected by this tragedy.”

Both cases would now go against Hernandez’s estate, though it remains to be seen what effect his death will have on the cases. Sheff said Hernandez’s house in North Attleboro and his car are the estate’s only identifiable assets, although he is looking into whether the New England Patriots owe any money to his estate.

At the time of his death, Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. His conviction may be vacated under a long-standing Massachusetts legal principle since his appeal had yet to be heard.

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