Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was sitting in prison and serving a life sentence for murder with no possibility of parole, has apparently hanged himself in his prison cell early Wednesday morning, according to published reports – including one appearing in the Washington Post and another on CNN.
As reported in WAPO:
“Officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., found Hernandez, 27, hanging from a bedsheet at about 3:05 a.m. Wednesday. They attempted lifesaving techniques on the former Pro Bowl player and he was taken to UMass Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, where he was pronounced dead.
Christopher Fallon, the deputy commissioner of communications for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, told The Post in an email that Hernandez, who was in a single cell in general population housing, attached the sheet to his cell window and tried to block his door by “jamming it with various items.” He added that Massachusetts State Police were present and an investigation is ongoing.
The murder of Lloyd occurred less than a year after Hernandez signed a seven-year, $40 million contract extension with the Patriots that included a $12.5 million bonus, the highest ever for a tight end. He had been a steal for the Patriots, falling to the fourth round of the NFL draft because of concerns about his maturity and the people with whom he associated. “He was really intelligent, and that’s why he was such a pain in the [butt],” a former University of Florida staffer told NFL.com in 2014. “He knew how to beat the system on everything.”
As pro teams considered whether drafting him was worth the risk, then-Coach Urban Meyer and his staff warned that it was “crucial that Hernandez be surrounded by the right people,” according to NFL.com. The coaches tried to keep him from returning home to Connecticut and worried when his friends there came to Gainesville on game weekends. Meyer said he had warned Belichick to “keep an eye” on Hernandez if he drafted him.
“Obviously, Coach Belichick’s a friend of mine. Very honest, I just said, ‘You just need to keep an eye on him,’” Meyer said after Hernandez’s conviction. “Unfortunately you can’t lock them up and keep them away from their homeboys. I guess that’s what happened.”
Hernandez’s conviction was under automatic review and on Friday he was acquitted in a double murder trial but was convicted of a gun possession charge. There was a brief, sweet moment during that trial when Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, his fiancee, brought the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to the courtroom and the two exchanged waves. For a fleeting moment, he smiled broadly and his face lit up.”
It was just days ago that Hernandez’s lawyer made headlines, suggesting his client could potentially be freed from jail after a jury found him not guilty for the double murder Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012.
h/t: Washington Post