So much of the story of Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star who threw the world of football into disarray following his shock arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd, has tragedy at its centre.
Hernandez had been a star on the college football scene after a string of impressive performances during his time with the University of Florida, then dropped all the way down to the fourth round of the NFL draft due to concerns over his off the field behaviour. Hernandez eventually spent three successful seasons in the NFL on a stacked New England Patriots team, but was released following his arrest in the Odin Lloyd case back in June 2013.
News broke yesterday that Hernandez had hanged himself in his cell in the early hours of Wednesday morning, reportedly using a bed sheet tied to a window in his cell. It is thought that the former NFL tight end had attempted to block the door to the room with various objects.
Hernandez was pronounced dead by doctors at the UMass Memorial Health Alliance Hospital the same morning, he was 27-years-old.
It was reported yesterday that the former New England Patriot had left a message written on his forehead; John 3:16 in an apparent reference to a popular passage from the bible, the verse reads…
“For god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
As details continue to emerge from the shocking story, it is now thought that Hernandez left as many as three hand written suicide notes, discovered in his cell following the discovery of his body.
The Daily Mail reports that two of the three notes were left for Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez and the couples’ four-year-old daughter, Avielle. The Mail cites “sources close to the investigation” in suggesting that the third note was left for a supposed fellow inmate lover.
In a statement released on Thursday, Massachusetts District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. explained the results of an autopsy on the body.
“Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry N. Nields performed an autopsy on Mr. Hernandez on Wednesday and concluded today that the manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging.
“An investigation into the death by State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office and Department of Correction investigators found cardboard jammed into the door tracks of his single-inmate cell to impede entry into the cell.”
On the same day that the team was visiting the White House to be honoured for last year’s Superbowl victory, a spokesperson for the New England Patriots declined to pass comment on the incident, saying “We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”
Those close to Hernandez reacted with shock at the news of his death, and seem sceptical over the judgement that the former NFL player did in fact commit suicide. His cousin, Rudy Garcia is certainly among those doubtful, saying that he had spoken to Hernandez the evening prior to his death.
“His conversation was nothing but joy – he was thinking about his future and how he was going to win his appeal in his Odin Lloyd case, and he was in really good spirits. So for this to happen – we’re shocked and we still don’t believe that he took his life, and we still believe there’s a lot of foul play going on.”
Hernandez had recently been acquitted of a double murder charge dating back to the 2012 shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the city of Boston.