Aaron Hernandez was born on November 06, 1989, he was an American football tight end for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) and a convicted murderer.
On January 6, 2010, Hernandez announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. He attended the NFL Scouting Combine, but was unable to perform any physical drills after tearing a muscle in his back during the offseason. On March 17, 2010, Hernandez participated at Florida’s pro day and performed all of the combine drills. His time in the 40-yard dash would have ranked fourth among all tight ends at the NFL Combine. Hernandez also performed 30 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and would have been the top performance of all tight ends, surpassing Dennis Pitta’s top performance of 27 repetitions.
On June 18, 2013, police searched Hernandez’s home in connection with an investigation into the shooting death of a friend, Odin Lloyd, whose body was found, with multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest, in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s house.
The following day, Hernandez assured Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft that he had nothing to do with the shooting. Despite this, Hernandez was “barred” from Gillette Stadium lest it become “the site of a media stakeout.” The team also decided, a week before his eventual arrest, to cut ties with Hernandez if he was arrested on any charge related to the case.
On June 26, 2013, Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder, in addition to five gun-related charges. The Patriots released Hernandez from the team about ninety minutes later, before officially learning the charges against him. Two other men were also arrested in connection with Lloyd’s death.
On August 22, 2013, Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Lloyd; he pled not guilty on September 6, 2013. On April 15, 2015, he was found guilty of murder in the first degree, a charge that in Massachusetts automatically carries a sentence of life in prison without a possibility of parole; he also was found guilty of five firearm charges. A motive for the murder was never definitively established. Police investigated the possibility that Lloyd may have learned of Hernandez’s bisexuality and that Hernandez was worried that Lloyd might out him to others.
The Boston Globe described Hernandez as being “strangely content” while in jail, an attitude that confounded his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins. He told his mother that, “I’ve been the most relaxed and less stressed in jail than I have out of jail.” He was, however, punished on multiple occasions for breaking prison rules, including screaming and banging on his cell door. Over the course of his four years behind bars, he increasingly turned to the Bible and became more religious.
On April 19, 2017, at 3:05 am EDT—five days after Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 Boston double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado—correction officers found Hernandez hanging by his bedsheets from the window in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He was transported to UMass Memorial Hospital-Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 am. He had been smoking K2, a drug associated with psychosis, within thirty hours of his death.
State Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon first said that no suicide note was found in the initial search of the two-person cell, which Hernandez occupied alone. Shampoo was found covering the floor, cardboard was wedged under the cell door to make it difficult for someone to enter, and there were drawings in blood on the walls showing an unfinished pyramid and the all-seeing eye of God, with the word “Illuminati” written in capital letters underneath. On April 20, 2017, investigators reported that three handwritten notes were next to a Bible opened to John 3:16 and that “John 3:16” was written on his forehead in red ink
Jose Baez, Hernandez’s attorney, reprinted the contents of the notes in his 2018 book Unnecessary Roughness. One short letter was addressed to Baez, thanking him for securing the acquittal in the double homicide and anticipating an appeal in the Odin Lloyd case. In addition, he asked Baez to pass along thanks to specific musicians whose songs Hernandez found inspiring. The other two notes were addressed to Hernandez’s fiancée and daughter. In contrast to the straightforward letter to Baez, the lawyer described the other notes as written in a disjointed and markedly “ominous” tone. The letter to his daughter was described by The Boston Globe as “strange, rambling, mystical, and tender”. In these notes, Hernandez described entering a “timeless realm” and announced he would see his family in heaven.
Prison officials had not observed any signs that Hernandez was at risk for suicide, so he had not been put on around-the-clock watch. Upon completion of the autopsy by the medical examiner, the death was officially ruled a suicide by hanging. At the request of his family, Hernandez’s brain was released to Boston University to be studied for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head, including football players who suffer concussions. Baez quickly disputed any claim of suicide and stated that he would initiate his own investigation of the death. However, in 2018, Baez wrote that he was initially suspicious of the suicide finding, given Hernandez’s optimistic demeanor after the acquittal in the double homicide. But he later came to believe Hernandez had taken his own life, with CTE being a major contributing factor.