Things That Matter

All Of Aaron Hernandez’s Secrets Came To The Light After His Suicide

After one of the strangest murder trials to involve an NFL athlete since OJ Simpson, Aaron Hernandez was found dead last week in his cell in an apparent suicide. During Hernandez’s trial for the murder of two men in 2012, his previous frenemy Alexander Bradley — who Hernandez apparently shot in the face (causing him to lose an eye) — testified against him, but it wasn’t enough to convict him. Hernandez was acquitted of a double murder, all while serving a life sentence for another murder, which is only a part of Hernandez’s complicated story, if you can believe it. Here’s what we know after Hernandez’s death:

1. Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell with a bed sheet.

CREDIT: (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

2. The floors of his cell were soapy and he was found naked.

According to corrections officers, it was done on purpose, so that if he changed his mind last minute, he’d have no choice but to follow through, as the floor would be too slippery to gain footing. He also made sure no one would be able to enter the cell to stop him, jamming the door with cardboard.


3. He had a reference to biblical text written on his forehead.

According to CBS Sports, Hernandez was found with the title of a famous bible verse written on his forehead in blood-red marker. The specific bible verse was John 3:16.


4. His bible was left open to the page with John 3:16 on it.

Credit: Wikimedia

John 3:16 reads “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Those in the Christian faith see this as a verse that speaks to God’s love and his extreme sacrifice.


5. Markings were found on his hands and feet.

Signifying that perhaps he thought he was being crucified, like Jesus, as an innocent. Reports also said law enforcement was looking into whether he was smoking K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, right before he took his life.


6. His suicide came just days after his acquittal for a double murder and on the same day the Patriots visited The White House.

Some have found it suspicious, including his lawyer and agent, both of whom were surprised that he’d taken his life only five days after being acquitted of a double murder. After the acquittal, it was assumed by several news sources that an appeal would be filed for the murder he had already been convicted of and was serving a life sentence for.

7. His brain has been donated to science.

CTE Scans
CREDIT: *Scans of several NFL player brains in CTE research, not of Hernandez’s.
Via: CNN / Bennet Omalu

To add to the strangeness of it all, within a day of his suicide it was revealed that his brain had been donated to research on CTE a disorder affecting NFL players and athletes. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition that some researchers think led to the suicides of Hall of Famer Junior Seau and former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson.


8. Hernandez left behind three suicide notes — this information wasn’t immediately divulged to the public.

CREDIT: (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

One was to his fiancé, another to his daughter and a third to his prison lover, confirming suspicions that Hernandez was bisexual. During Hernandez’s first murder case, investigators speculated that Hernandez’s attempt to hide his sexuality may have played a part in the motive.


9. The secrecy of his bisexuality is now being considered as one of the main motives for his previous murder conviction.

LLoyd Hernandez
Via: Wikipedia / Jeffrey Beall / Flickr

Investigators are now saying that the murder of Odin Lloyd may have occurred so Hernandez could keep his sexuality secret. Lloyd had allegedly called Hernandez a “schmoocher,” which Hernandez took for a gay slur, as one co-defendant told detectives in the case. As Newsweek reported, Hernandez’s long time high-school lover was compensated handsomely shortly before Hernandez’s arrest for Lloyd’s murder in a possible attempt to keep his sexuality a secret.

Michele McPhee of Newsweek reported on an interesting detail about Hernandez’s finances:

“Hernandez’s alleged longtime male lover, the high school friend, was interviewed extensively by authorities after Lloyd’s murder, and was forced to testify in front of a grand jury. Law enforcement officials also say Hernandez moved a large amount of money into three accounts shortly before his arrest for the Lloyd killing: one account was for his fiancée; a second was for his daughter; the third, where the most money was moved, was for that friend.”

Although some may find the lengths to which Hernandez would go to keep his sexuality secret — paying people off or even killing them – as extreme measures, the stress, the denial and the pain that can occur from suppressing or hiding one’s sexual identity can be dangerous to a person’s health.

According to a piece in LGBT Weekly, some of the many harmful things that can occur from the stress of hiding one’s sexuality, something Hernandez may have felt compelled to do as an NFL star, are dissociative identity disorder, chronic depression, self-disgust, self-hatred, low self-esteem and negative self-view, alcohol & drug-abuse and suicidal thoughts.


10. Apparently, right before committing suicide, a $50,000 watch was gifted to the family of his prison lover.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 11.10.16 AM
Via: Northbridge Police

His prison lover has recently been identified as Kyle Kennedy, a 22-year-old, in prison for armed robbery according to a piece in the Daily Mail.


11. Kennedy is now on what is called “eyeball suicide watch.”

People were shocked when Aaron Hernandez took his own life, it’s no wonder watching Kennedy has become a priority with officers on him 24/7.


Aaron Hernandez left a mess in the wake of his suicide, unsolved murders, saddened loved ones, an undecided estate, and there’s no telling what is still yet to be uncovered in this case. We have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of it all. We may never know what was going through his mind when he decided to do what he did, but we can’t help but wonder what strange twists are left to be uncovered.


[H/T] AARON HERNANDEZ’S SEX LIFE PROBED AS MURDER MOTIVE, POLICE SOURCE SAYS

READ: Those Close To Aaron Hernandez Don’t Believe He Committed Suicide

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‘Jane The Virgin’ Actress Opens Up About How Anxiety Kept Her From Showing Up To Set

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‘Jane The Virgin’ Actress Opens Up About How Anxiety Kept Her From Showing Up To Set

Jean Baptiste Lacroix / Stringer | Getty Images

Even though depression, anxiety, and mental health are becoming more publicly discussed, there is a stigma attached to it. It’s still seen as a weakness instead of a disease. Mental wellness is not regarded in the same way physical wellness is. It isn’t discussed at home or at schools — making the important topic all but taboo. That’s why it is so important that we talk publicly about our struggles with mental health.

It’s with that in mind that “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez opened up about her own experiences.

Rodriguez has been open about her personal experience with her mental health in the past.

Twitter / @HuffPost

In 2017, in fact, she posted about her journey with anxiety in a very candid Instagram post.

She has now opened up even further in an emotional sitdown with NBC’s Kate Snow during the recent Kennedy Forum.

The actress explained:

“I think I started dealing with depression around sixteen. I started dealing with the idea of…everything is going to be better when I’m gone. Life will be easier. All the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn’t have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away.”

The pressure Rodriguez refers to includes the difficult time she had while filming the final season of “Jane the Virgin.”

Twitter / @enews

According to the star, she began suffering from panic-induced, debilitating anxiety attacks while on set.

“There was a point where I couldn’t, I couldn’t push through every single time anymore,” Rodriguez shared with Snow. “And I’m one of those human beings…I’m just like, ‘I’ll handle it later. I’ll deal with it later. I’ll figure it out later. I just have to do this now.’ All the while dealing with this, you know, your silent little dragon in your head.”

Rodriguez went on to explain that this struggle caused her to stop production on the series for the first time ever.

Twitter / NFINorth

“I had a really tumultuous season, she confessed. “I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.'”

That courage motivated Rodriguez to get the help she needed and to take the time to prioritize herself. It’s a milestone that anyone who fights against their mental illness would recognize. We can only imagine the pressure Rodriguez faced in the midst of a busy production schedule.

Her ability to speak openly about mental health is motivated by the girls and women who look up to her.

Twitter / @savannaha006

“I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else,” Rodriguez explained.

The actress has long been a mentor in the fields of art, body positivity, immigration rights, and feminism. In 2016, Rodriguez launched the We Will Foundation to promote young artists through education and scholarships. In 2018, she worked with P&G to start the Always Campaign to benefit Feeding America.

This candid conversation is another example of her commitment to being the sort of mentor the world needs most.

Poor mental health is often a side effect of other illnesses; which is the case with Rodriguez.

Twitter / @CrisisTextLine

Anxiety and depression are complications of her Hashimoto’s Disease. Rodriguez shared in a 2017 SELF interview that the medicine she takes for her thyroid causes heart palpitations. This disrupted rhythm sometimes triggers panic attacks.

The illness has forced the actress to reassess herself and become more self-aware. After adjusting her medication, she noticed improvements.

Still, Rodriguez had to face the bigger issue of her underlined mental health. That self-awareness has helped her and hopefully, her experience can help others struggling with the same issues.

After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

credit: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

One year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., two students have died in apparent suicides, compelling the community to come together and share mental health resources.

On Saturday, a sophomore at the school, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, took his own life. One week prior, Sydney Aiello, 19, a recent Stoneman Douglas graduate who lost her best friend in the massacre, also ended her life.

As the Florida’s emergency chief Jared Moskowitz calls for the state Legislature to send more mental health resources for the high school’s students and faculty, calling mental health a “bipartisan issue” on Twitter, the community has stepped in where the state government has been slow to respond.

On Sunday, more than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, met for an emergency meeting. Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was murdered on Feb. 14. 2018, said that the school district will be giving parents the “Columbia Protocol, six questions that parents should ask their children, the Miami Herald reports. Based on their answers, they will know what emergency resources are available to them. Additionally, nonprofits are offering free therapy groups and services.

Online, it’s students, former and current, who are using social media to offer resources to those still suffering from the trauma and loss of last year’s school shooting. David Hogg, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and has become a fierce anti-gun advocate, took to Twitter, reminding Parkland students and grads that trauma doesn’t go away quickly.

“Stop saying you’ll get over it,'” he wrote. “You don’t get over something that never should have happened because those that die from gun violence are stolen from us not naturally lost. Trauma and loss don’t just go away, you have to learn to live with it through getting support.”

According to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who spoke with Teen Vogue, witnessing traumatic events can lead to symptoms consistent with acute stress disorder, including recurring memories, dreams or nightmares of the event; mood changes; irritability and more. These memories, she adds, can lead to negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping and more.

Hogg wants youth to know that these symptoms are normal and that they can be managed through help, like therapy, talking with friends and family, meditation and self-care practices.

He, along with others, shared his own self-care routine.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, know there is help available. For immediate support, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and are unsure where to turn, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by sending HOME to 741741.

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