Aaron Hernandez's brother, DJ, pleads not guilty to death threat, causing disturbance at ESPN
New Britain — The brother of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty Friday to threatening to kill a woman and her family and causing a disturbance at ESPN.
Through his public defender, Sandra Crowell, Dennis "DJ" Hernandez also pleaded not guilty to separate allegations that he caused a March disturbance at ESPN and failed to go to court.
Hernandez did not appear Friday for the hearing in state Superior Court in New Britain because he is in federal custody without bail on other charges.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty to second-degree breach of peace and second-degree threatening, both misdemeanors that stem from the alleged threats. He was arrested July 19 in the case. He also pleaded not guilty to failure to appear in court on July 7 and breach of peace after a March 23 ESPN incident. The pleas are a formality to start the pretrial process.
In addition to the state cases, Hernandez faces federal threatening and stalking charges stemming from allegations that he appeared to be planning school shootings at the University of Connecticut and Brown University in Rhode Island. That case is pending in U.S. District Court, where a federal judge has ordered a psychiatric exam for Hernandez, according to Tom Carson, U.S. Attorney's spokesperson.
According to a Bristol police report, Hernandez threatened to kill a woman he knew and said he was "coming for her family" as well. The report said Hernandez sent threatening messages to the victim through a relative, who alerted the police. The relative told police on July 18 that the messages indicated he planned to kill people, the report said.
"We're taking lives if (expletive) isn't paid up," he wrote, according to the report. "It's been years in planning just taking notes, names and locations."
The day he failed to go to court he was supposed to appear before a judge on allegations he took an Uber on March 23 and tried to access the ESPN property in Bristol. When he was denied entry, he threw a plastic bag with a large brick inside onto ESPN property before leaving, according to police.
Police said a note attached to the brick read: "To all media outlets, it's about time you all realeyes (sic) the affect (sic) media has on all family members. Since you're a world wide leader maybe you could lead how media and messages are delivered brick by brick. Clean it up! Yours truly, Dennis J. Hernandez."
His brother, Aaron Hernandez, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015 and died by suicide in 2017 while serving a life sentence, days after he was acquitted of killing two other people.
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