Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead in the correctional facility in Shirley Massachusetts at 3:05 a.m. Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in the summer of 2013. He later went on trial for the double murder of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, but Hernandez was just recently acquitted of those charges.
According to Jean Casarez of CNN, Hernandez used a bed sheet for the hanging, which was attached to his window. Hernandez also placed a number of things on the back of the cell door to make sure that no one would be able to come into the room and save his life. Authorities have yet to release any kind of suicide note from Hernandez. When he was found at 3:05 a.m., prison personnel tried to resuscitate him, and he was transported to the local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:09 a.m.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn shared in a statement, “This is a shocking and sad end to a very tragic series of events that has negatively impacted a number of families.” Bristol County prosecuted Hernandez in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
Patrick Johnson, former warden at the Chautauqua county jail and a current criminal justice professor, explained that correctional officers are required to do supervisory visits to the housing units in anywhere from 15 to 30-minute intervals. Johnson explained that even during the night shift if the intervals were 30 minutes, that would give Hernandez plenty of time to formulate a plan for his suicide. He added that inmates frequently watch the guards to make sure that they are not being watched while prepared for suicide or escape, and they “time things up when they know the officer is not going to be around.”
It is believed that Hernandez was going through a very emotional time after coming to tears for being acquitted of the double murder charges. In court, he was seen blowing a kiss to his daughter before having to return back to his cell to serve the rest of his life sentence. Johnson stated that Hernandez was emotionally caught in the moment while in the courtroom after he was acquitted, but he had a sudden reality check when he was sent back to prison and was “never going to come out of the prison, [serving a] life sentence without parole.”
That, coupled with the New England Patriots celebrating their Super Bowl Championship today at the White House, caused Hernandez to come “crashing down.” Johnson added that this is not a unique case, as he has seen inmates get emotionally caught up in a good moment, only to soon come to the realization that they will never again experience living outside of prison bars. As a result, the inmates undergo an emotional tailspin, which often ends up being very harmful.
ESPN reported that a New England Patriots spokesperson informed them that a detailed response would not be issued today, but a comment was made on the matter.
“We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”
Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who reportedly took on Aaron’s last name post-incarceration, despite not being married to him, has also been a subject of ridicule. Many people on social media were very vocal about her bringing their daughter to the courtroom, as it was believed that she was being “used as a prop.” Sadly, the emotional moment that Hernandez experienced after being acquitted and blowing a kiss to his daughter may have triggered something that he felt that he could not handle anymore.
[Featured Image By Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe/AP Images]