Aaron Josef Hernandez (November 6th, 1989 - April 19th, 2017) was an NFL player who played for the New England Patriots. He played for them from 2010-2012 and was their tight end. He was imprisoned in 2013 for murder, sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was of both Puerto Rican and Italian descent.
Hernandez was found guilty of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and was acquitted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
On April 19th, 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell after he hung himself with his bedsheets. An autopsy showed that Hernandez was suffering from stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) typically found in a 67-year man at the time of his death.
Murder of Odin Lloyd
On June 18, 2013, police searched Hernandez's home in connection with an investigation into the shooting death of a friend, Odin Lloyd, whose body was found, with multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest, in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's house.
The following day, Hernandez assured Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft that he had nothing to do with the shooting. Despite this, Hernandez was "barred" from Gillette Stadium lest it become "the site of a media stakeout." The team also decided, a week before his eventual arrest, to sever the ties with Hernandez if he was arrested on any charge related to the case.
On June 26, 2013, Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder, in addition to five gun-related charges. The Patriots released Hernandez from the team about ninety minutes later, before officially learning the charges against him. Two other men were also arrested in connection with Lloyd's death.
On August 22, 2013, Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Lloyd; he pled not guilty on September 6, 2013. On April 15, 2015, he was found guilty of murder in the first degree, a charge that in Massachusetts automatically carries a sentence of life in prison without any possibility of parole; he also was found guilty of five firearm charges. A motive for the murder was never definitively established. Police investigated the possibility that Lloyd may have learned of Hernandez's bisexuality and that Hernandez was worried that Lloyd might out him to others.
On April 19, 2017, at 3:05 am EDT—five days after Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 Boston double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado—correction officers found Hernandez hanging with bed sheets from the window in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He was transported to UMass Memorial Hospital-Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 am. He had been smoking K2, a drug associated with psychosis, within thirty hours of his death. A fellow inmate told investigators that he had spent much of the previous two days smoking the synthetic cannabinoid.
State Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon first said that no suicide note was found in the initial search of the two-person cell, which Hernandez occupied alone. On April 20, 2017, investigators reported that three handwritten notes were next to a Bible opened to John 3:16 and that "John 3:16" was written on his forehead in red ink.
Shampoo was found covering the floor, cardboard was wedged under the cell door to make it difficult for someone to enter, and there were drawings in blood on the walls showing an unfinished pyramid and the all-seeing eye of God, with the word "Illuminati" written in capital letters underneath. The drawings were references to the Five-Percent Nation, a Black supremacist movement. Hernandez learned about the Five-Percent Nation, a movement influenced by Islam, through hip hop culture while in prison. He also expressed an interest in Christianity, telling fellow prisoners that "we all have Jesus Christ inside of us."