The Connecticut man who alleges former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez shot him in February after an argument in a Miami strip club was ordered Friday by a Hartford judge to appear before a grand jury in Massachusetts.
Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander ordered that Alexander Bradley, 31, must appear before the grand jury on July 17 in Fall River, as part of the investigation into the murder of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, officials in the Hartford court clerk’s office confirmed.
Hernandez has been charged with first degree murder in the execution-style slaying of Lloyd, who was found shot to death June 17 in a North Attleborough industrial park near Hernandez’s home. The former star NFL tight end is being held without bail. The Patriots dropped him from their roster shortly after he was arrested on June 26.
A spokesman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter said the office would neither confirm nor deny that Bradley will soon appear as a grand jury witness.
“We do not comment on the grand jury’’ in any investigation, said Sutter spokesman Gregg Miliotte. “It’s a secret proceeding and we are prohibited from commenting on the existence of a grand or what that grand jury might be doing. It only becomes public after the grand jury votes to indict or returns a no bill.’’
Bradley was shot on Feb. 13, according to Florida police. Employees of a John Deere tractor store discovered him near the store, on the ground in the fetal position, bleeding from the head with his eyes swollen shut, according to police reports on the incident filed with the Palm Beach sheriff’s office. The police reports do not mention Hernandez. When questioned immediately after the shooting, Bradley claimed he did not know who had shot him. He refused to help police find his attacker, prompting them to close the investigation without making an arrest.
Four months later, Bradley named Hernandez as the shooter in a federal lawsuit filed in Florida. The suit claims that Bradley and Hernandez visited Tootsie’s strip club in Miami together “with a group of other people,” and had an argument while they were there. While driving later toward Palm Beach, Hernandez pointed a gun at Bradley and fired — either intentionally or through extreme negligence, the lawsuit alleges. Bradley lost his right eye from the gunshot, underwent multiple surgeries and is permanently disfigured, the suit alleges.
Bradley and Hernandez appear closely connected. Two weeks before Bradley was shot in Florida, Massachusetts State Police arrested Bradley for drunken driving on Interstate 93, while Hernandez was apparently a passenger in the car, according to court records. Bradley is accused of driving as fast as 105 miles per hour and “swerving violently,” records say.
When the trooper stopped the SUV near Exit 8 in Quincy, the front passenger yelled out, “Trooper, I’m Aaron Hernandez — it’s OK,” according to the police report.
A default warrant was issued for Bradley in March after he missed a court date in Massachusetts. The warrant was canceled in May, after Bradley explained to the court that he missed the appointment because he was recovering from a gunshot.
He is scheduled to appear in Quincy District Court for a pre-trial hearing July 16.Mark Arsenault can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark