You know that one friend we all have that annoyed you to the point that you shot them in the face?
Oh, no? You don’t? Well, of course you don’t, because you’re not Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots player who allegedly shot his (dique) friend in the face. Hernandez, who is serving a life sentence for murder, is currently on trial for the 2012 murder of two other men — Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28 — who Hernandez allegedly killed after a nightclub dispute.
This week, Hernandez’s former friend, Alexander Bradley, who is currently serving time for a different shooting, gave testimony of the time he says he saw Hernandez shoot five bullets into a car.
Based on his testimony, Alexander, who is currently on his fourth day of testifying, and is under the protection of immunity for accessary to Hernandez’s alleged murder, the entire drama happened because someone at a night club accidentally spilled a drink on Hernandez. According to Alexander, the incident prompted Hernandez to follow the drink-spillers in a car and shoot them to death. To cover it up, Hernandez allegedly shot Bradley in the face in Florida and left him for dead.
A lot has been said about former NFL player Aaron Hernandez who committed suicide in his prison cell last year. It’s hard to know for sure what Hernandez was suffering through, especially in the last years of his life. What is known is that he was going through an unimaginable amount of pain. We know this from the diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which was revealed after his death.
CTE is a disease that occurs in the brain when a person is repeatedly hit in the head, which is why NFL players are prone to getting it. Symptoms of CTE include difficulty thinking, impulsive behavior, depression, emotional instability, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and much more.
In an investigative piece in the Boston Globe we are learning more about Hernandez through people that knew him best as well as his former teammates. What is clear is that Hernandez’s CTE diagnosis was very apparent in retrospect, but we’re also learning that his childhood may have also contributed to his destructive behavior as an adult.
Jonathan says that he wanted to get help. He wanted to call 911 and report his father, but when he attempted, it only made matters worse.
“I picked up the phone once to call, to seek help,” Jonathan tells the Boston Globe. “And his response was, ‘Call them.’ And he handed me the phone, and he said, ‘I’m going to beat you even harder, you and your brother, and they’re going to have to pull me off of you when they knock down the door.'”
Aaron’s secret boyfriend, Dennis SanSoucie, also shares how he couldn’t disclose his sexual orientation.
Dennis SanSoucie, Aaron Hernandez's secret gay lover from middle school and high school, is speaking out for the first timehttps://t.co/GiZdAe7BwI
SanSoucie says that he didn’t come out to his family until after Aaron had died. He also added that Aaron had told him that he was sexually abused when he was a young boy. According to the article, Aaron’s home life would never allow for him to come out as gay. His brother says that gay slurs were used by his father constantly and even though Aaron displayed gay tendencies he never dared tell his father the truth.
Aaron’s erratic behavior — a symptom of CTE — was very much part of his athletic life, both on the field and off.
"When Dr. Anne McKee autopsied Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez…she found the most severe case of CTE ever in someone under 30. Now, she's seeing a similar pattern in deceased veterans who experienced a different kind of head trauma — combat blasts." pic.twitter.com/0b1WpvkLQU
“There would be swings where he’d be the most hyper-masculine, aggressive individual in the room, where he’d be ready to fight somebody in fits of rage,” former Patriots receiver Brandon Lloyd tells the Boston Globe. “Or he’d be the most sensitive person in the room, talking about cuddling with his mother. Or he’d ask me, ‘Do you think I’m good enough to play?'”
Needless to say, his behavior didn’t go over well with the players especially their captain Tom Brady.
Last April, former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell. He was serving a life sentence for murder and took his life just days after being acquitted of a separate double murder. After Hernandez’s death, his brain was donated to Boston University to be tested for CTE. Researchers have finally confirmed that Hernandez was indeed suffering from severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition that may result in memory loss, violent behavior, and depression. It is believed Hall of Famer Junior Seau and former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide, suffered from CTE.
According to researchers, for someone his age, Hernandez had the most severe case of CTE they had ever seen.
Based on characteristic neuropathological findings, Dr. McKee concluded that Mr. Hernandez had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Stage 3 out of 4, (Stage 4 being the most severe). This diagnosis was confirmed by a second VABHS neuropathologist. In addition, Mr. Hernandez had early brain atrophy and large perforations in the septum pellucidum, a central membrane.
This graphic shows the classic features of CTE in the brain of Mr. Hernandez. There is severe deposition of tau protein in the frontal lobes of the brain (top row). The bottom row shows microscopic deposition of tau protein in nerve cells around small blood vessels, a unique feature of CTE.
Dr. McKee and the BU CTE team have extensive experience in the diagnosis of CTE and have contributed landmark publications on traumatic brain injury and CTE in athletes and Veterans. Her research has demonstrated that CTE is associated with aggressiveness, explosiveness, impulsivity, depression, memory loss and other cognitive changes.
We are grateful to the family of Aaron Hernandez for donating his brain to the VA-BU-CLF brain bank, located at the Jamaica Plain campus of the VA Boston Healthcare System.
The BU CTE Center will have no additional comment.
Although it may sound speculative, the findings raise questions about the effect CTE had on Hernandez, who had a history of violent behavior. It’s impossible to know for certain since CTE can only be diagnosed by deep examination of the brain after death. At the very least, the findings will continue to make CTE a hot-button issue among NFL fans, players, and owners.