Former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell early on Wednesday morning. The NFL star was serving a life sentence in prison after being found guilty of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. But under one week ago, he was acquitted of double murder charges stemming from a 2012 incident in which Hernandez was the main suspect. He beat the case and all signs were pointing towards Hernandez going to continue his appeal of his murder conviction until his death.
Some speculated a conspiracy was afoot given Hernandez’s recent trial victory and many thought there was no way he would kill himself. An investigation immediately began and the official report determined he committed suicide and they also found handwritten notes to his daughter and fiancee.
Following is an official report from the office of Worchester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
The death of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center has been ruled a suicide, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., Col. Richard McKeon, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, and Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett.
Mr. Hernandez, 27, was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. on Wednesday. He was brought to UMass-Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
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 the 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.
There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released Mr. Hernandez’s body on Wednesday, but withheld some tissue including his brain until the cause and manner of death was determined. Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes. The center studies a progressive degenerative brain disease found in some athletes who have experienced repetitive brain trauma.