NFL Player Testifies About Partying With Aaron Hernandez - NBC Chicago
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NFL Player Testifies About Partying With Aaron Hernandez

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    Wide receiver Deonte Thompson of the Chicago Bears, a former University of Florida teammate of Aaron Hernandez, took the stand Monday in the double murder trial against the former Patriots tight end.

    (Published Monday, March 27, 2017)

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson testified Monday about partying and visiting strip clubs with former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in 2013.

    Thompson, 28, played with Hernandez at the University of Florida and said the two were like brothers. Hernandez is on trial for killing two men in Boston in 2012.

    "We came in together, so our whole class was pretty much tight," he said. "That's my guy. I mean, we played ball together. We were in the war together. He was like a brother."

    Hernandez showed a brief smile when Thompson first pointed him out in court.

    Thompson said he and Hernandez spent a lot of time hanging out during their three years together at Florida, and they remained friendly but rarely saw each other once they were both in the NFL.

    In court Monday, Thompson recounted hosting a party on Feb. 8, 2013, five days after his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, won the Super Bowl. He said Hernandez attended the party, at Club 21 in Thompson's hometown of Belle Glade, Florida.

    A flyer for a 2013 party hosted by Deonte Thompson.

    In the days after the party, Thompson said he went to Miami "every night," and Hernandez was one of the people who often went with him. On one occasion, he said he went to Tootsie's Cabaret, a South Beach strip club, with Hernandez and a group of several other friends.

    "It's kind of blurry," he said. "Those days kind of stack up. Every day we partied."

    Thompson said he met Hernandez's former best friend, Alexander Bradley, on at least two occasions during that time period, but did not have any close interaction with him.

    "I don't remember seeing the guy that much that week," he said. "I was intoxicated too, so my judgment may not be the best."

    Thompson is one of several NFL players or coaches on the witness list. Others who could be called to testify are Patriots coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and former Florida teammates Mike and Maurkice Pouncey.

    Thompson was one of several people who testified Monday about the post-Super Bowl party in 2013 at Club 21. Also testifying were Tyrone Crawford and Oscar Hernandez Jr.

    Prosecutors say Hernandez shot Bradley days later because he feared Bradley would tell authorities he saw Hernandez kill two men in Boston in July 2012. 

    Monday's first witness was club promoter Jeff London, who testified that he saw Hernandez slap another club promoter over comments the promoter made about a loss to the Ravens.

    London said he knew Hernandez through his work and would see him frequently at clubs around Boston. He testified about Hernandez's interactions with club-goers, saying, "He didn't like to be approached." He described two incidents where Hernandez got hostile with him. In one case, he said Hernandez called him a "fed" and a "snitch."

    Hernandez's brother, Jonathan "DJ" Hernandez, was expected to testify for the prosecution on Monday, but Judge Jeffrey Locke pushed that testimony to Tuesday.

    Testimony resumed Monday after a long weekend for the jury. They were given Friday off because of an illness going around the courtroom.

    During that time, they were asked to read through some-400 text messages between Hernandez and Bradley, the prosecution's star witness.

    Bradley said he was in the driver's seat when Hernandez allegedly shot and killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after one of them accidentally spilled his drink at a Boston nightclub in July 2012. 

    Defense lawyers say Bradley killed the men over a drug deal. 

    Hernandez is already serving a life sentence in the 2013 fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée.