The last several hours Aaron Hernandez spent alive in his jail cell have been ordered preserved as potential evidence into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Bristol Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire on Friday granted a request by the former New England Patriots star’s fiancée, paving the way for his family to probe his final hours.
In addition to video recordings of the last eight hours he spent in his cell, the order also includes information about where he was during that time and all of his property, including his writings. Investigators will also be allowed to listen to recordings of his phone calls for the last month.
Several media outlets have reported that an unidentified prison guard has already admitted he skipped a 2 a.m. scheduled bed check on the night in question, with Hernandez being found unresponsive shortly after that.
The guard is now reported to be facing a lengthy suspension.
Prison officials have also confirmed Hernandez left at least three letters in his cell, all of which were found near a Bible he had there.
The 27-year-old NFL veteran was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski maximum security prison in Shirley, Mass., earlier this month. His death has officially been ruled a suicide.
In the days leading up to his death, Hernandez was found not guilty of double murder charges stemming from a 2012 drive-by shooting in downtown Boston. In that case, Hernandez was accused of gunning down the two men after one of them accidentally spilled a drink on him and failed to apologize.
Despite being found not guilty, the former NFL star still faced the prospect of life in prison without the possibility of parole stemming from his conviction in the 2013 execution-style killing of Odin Lloyd.
Throughout that case, prosecutors theorized Hernandez killed Lloyd because he feared he might implicate him in other violent crimes he was suspected of being involved in.
After the most recent verdict, attorneys for Hernandez had indicated they planned to appeal his first conviction and seek a new trial. His legal team is now preparing to file paperwork that could have that conviction permanently erased from his record.
Massachusetts is one of several states where convictions can be vacated if a defendant dies while the case is still in the appeals process. The state also automatically renders appeals in cases ending in first-degree murder convictions.
To date, family members of Hernandez insist they have been left in the dark about what the letters found in his cell expressed.
Newsweek has now reported at least one of the letters was addressed to Hernandez’s gay prison boyfriend and that he lived a secret bisexual lifestyle.
The magazine added that Hernandez’s sexuality was known to Lloyd and it also may have played a role in the former semi-pro football player’s violent death.
According to Newsweek, Hernandez was also allegedly involved with a male high school classmate, and shortly before his arrest in the Lloyd case transferred a sizeable sum of money into the unknown acquaintance’s bank account.
Hernandez’s other two scribblings are said to have been addressed to Jenkins-Hernandez and their 4-year-old daughter.
Hernandez’s death came just hours before his former New England Patriots teammates were slated to fete their historic Super Bowl win at the White House with President Donald Trump.
After Hernandez was officially slapped with charges in the Lloyd case, the Patriots instantly moved to release him and void the remainder of the $40 million extension he had only recently negotiated.
[Featured Image by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]