Five days after former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty for a double murder that took place in 2012, the ex-New England Patriots tight end was found dead in his prison cell in an apparent suicide.
Prison officials found the 27-year-old, who was serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player in 2013, hanging by his bed sheet that he attached to a window.
Christopher Fallon, a spokesperson for Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Boston, where Hernandez was being held, said in a statement that the ex-football player was discovered by guards just after 3 a.m. Apparently, Hernandez tried to block the entrance of his single cell with various items. He was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital an hour later. Fallon also said they were not aware that he was in danger to himself and therefore was not on suicide watch. While no suicide note was apparently found, his death will be investigated.
The news of his suicide is a bit shocking considering he had just been acquitted of a double murder and was seen being very emotional at the conclusion of the trial.
The timing and circumstances of Hernandez’s death have created skepticism among those close to the former NFL star.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2017
Jose Baez, the lawyer responsible for Hernandez’s recent double-murder charge acquittal, told the Boston Herald:
“The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron’s death. 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. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death. We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation.”
TMZ reported that Baez alleges this “suicide” could have been a murder at the hands of fellow inmates or officials at the prison.
Hernandez’s former agent Bryan Murphy echoed this sentiment, saying there was “Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.”
Reaction to his suicide has been mixed.
If you glad Aaron Hernandez is Dead, you just judging someone else's life without knowing the full details
— Demetri M. (@Suferassbrad) April 19, 2017
One night, one mistake, can change an entire man's dreams and future. RIP Aaron Hernandez? pic.twitter.com/6eHHTqCoot
— NE Sports Fanatics (@FanaticsNE) April 19, 2017
Not a fan of some of the Aaron Hernandez tweets I'm seeing. Remember, inmate suicides represent a failure of our justice system.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) April 19, 2017
Today, some of his former New England Patriots teammates will be at the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. In regards to the suicide, Stacey James, a spokesperson for the Patriots, told The Boston Globe, that they are “aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”
Mike Pouncey, Hernandez’s former teammate at the University of Florida, did comment on this tragic event with the following Instagram:
To my friend my brother! Through thick and thin right or wrong we never left each other's side. Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imagined. It was just a day ago we shared our last convo. I will forever miss you and love you bro. we will meet again rest easy! ❤️??
A post shared by Mike Pouncey (@mikepouncey) on
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