BOSTON, MA—Massachusetts State Corrections officials disclosed that NFL player Aaron Hernandez, 27, former tight end for the New England Patriots, was found in his prison cell at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19 dead, after hanging himself with bedsheets. According to reports, Hernandez attached the sheet to a window.
Hernandez, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, was convicted of homicide for the 2012 shooting of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston, which occurred at a nightclub after one of the men spilled a drink on him. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder, though he was convicted for unlawful possession of a gun.
He was acquitted in the murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in 2013, for which he was serving a life sentence at the time of his death. He was issued a separate four to five year sentence for the double shooting of de Abreu and Furtado.
Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, and former agent, Brian Murphy, have asserted that his death may not have been related to suicide.
“There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible. Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence,” Baez told the Boston Herald.
Additionally, Murphy tweeted about his disbelief Wednesday morning. Both men are questioning the cause of his death. Baez asserted that officials from his law firm will soon inquire into the incident.
Hernandez comes from a family of well-known athletes. Like his father, uncle, and older brother, he pursued football, basketball, and track growing up. He is survived by his mother, Terri Hernandez, his brother, D.J. Hernandez, his four-year old daughter, Avielle Janelle Hernandez, and fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez.
On Saturday, one day after Hernandez pleaded not guilty of homicide, Olivia Thibou, Lloyd’s sister, posted on her Facebook page:
“This morning I woke up, tears in my eyes..today 2 years ago almost around this exact time. Leonard (her fiance), Chance (her son) and I were riding to the courthouse when Brandon Ferris called to tell me a verdict came in. I didn’t think it would come that early in the day. Knowing we weren’t going to make it on time, I plugged my phone to the auxiliary and watched the verdict being read live. Holding Leonard’s hand I screamed out and cried when madame foreman announced guilty for murder! I watched my mom, sister Shaneah, uncle and aunts break down in tears. I got to the courthouse ran through the cameras hugged Brandon and just cried!
Yesterday I had that same feeling as I sat at my desk waiting 6 days for this verdict. I knew in my heart it could go either way, but thought there were to many coincidences maybe someone on the jury was seeing it like us. My heart sunk yesterday and at my desk I cried ‘not guilty’….yes he’s in jail for life for Odin..but there’s still families that have no one guilty in their loved ones murders..please continue to pray for their broken hearts and ours!”