A funeral service for Aaron Hernandez will take place in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut, on Monday afternoon. Local police have confirmed that roads in the area of the memorial service will be closed for almost six hours on April 24 while family and friends pay their final respects to the New England Patriots star who was found dead in his jail cell in a Massachusetts prison on April 19.
Find the latest information about Aaron Hernandez’s funeral and memorial service below as well as comments from Bristol locals about Aaron’s life, and details about how, in the wake of his death, his conviction for first-degree murder could be voided by Massachusetts’ courts.
On Saturday afternoon, Aaron Hernandez’s body was transported from Massachusetts to a funeral home in Connecticut. According to WTNH, a service to celebrate Aaron’s life will be held at the O’Brien Funeral home in Bristol from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 24.
Fans and supporters who wish to pay their respects to the late NFL star will be able to do so by invitation only. The New Haven Register reports that a statement released by Aaron’s family details the family’s desire to have privacy during the two-hour memorial service for Aaron Hernandez.
“The family of Aaron Hernandez wishes to thank all of you for the thoughtful expressions of condolences,” Aaron’s family said in a statement released by the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. “We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time.”
Once details of the funeral were made public, residents of Bristol shared their thoughts about the 27-year-old who, previous to his conviction for first-degree murder, was a star athlete in his hometown before he signed a $40 million contract extension with the New England Patriots in 2012.
Bristol barber Jose Cartagena told the Boston Globe on Wednesday that Hernandez “was a hero at one point.” He went on to say that “everyone looked up to him” but now “it is just sad.”
“He came in here as a young dude and he was humble. He got himself into some situations, but he always showed respect for the community he came from, from Bristol.”
Hector Ojeda, an employee at Bristol’s Typhoon Car Wash, told Globe reporters that locals had been talking about the Hernandez trial and his recent death. Ojeda states that Bristol is a “small town” and the situation surrounding Aaron’s murder trials and death was “shocking.”
“It’s hard to believe,” Ojeda said. “He was a decent guy, that’s what people said.”
Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, at approximately 3:05 a.m. on April 19. ESPN reports investigators found “three handwritten notes” next to a Bible in Hernandez’s cell and there are multiple unconfirmed reports that he wrote the Bible verse “John 3:16” on his forehead in red marker. Aaron’s death was ruled a suicide by the Massachusetts State Medical Examiner.
According to the Washington Post, Aaron Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd “will be voided” due to a Massachusetts law.
Martin W. Healy of the Massachusetts Bar Association tells the Washington Post that Aaron will “go to his death an innocent man” because an appeal on his conviction had not been heard. The law, called “abatement ab initio” (meaning “from the beginning”) states that a case goes back to its status (innocent until proven guilty) if the person dies before all legal appeals are exhausted. Bottom line, it would be as if Aaron Hernandez’s murder trial and conviction never happened.
[Featured Image by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]