Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez shocked the world last week when he committed suicide in his prison cell. The ex-footballer had just been found not-guilty of murder while serving a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole for an earlier murder conviction. On April 19, just days after he avoided a second murder conviction, Hernandez was found dead by guards in his prison cell in an apparent suicide by hanging.
Initially, it was reported that Aaron Hernandez didn’t leave behind a suicide note. However, as CBS Sports reports, it was later divulged that Hernandez was found near three separate suicide notes, along with the words “John 3:16” written on his forehead (in an apparent homage to the Bible verse). Of those three notes, one was addressed to Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, Hernandez’ fiance and the mother of his child; another was addressed to his 4-year-old daughter, Avielle.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.”
As for the third suicide note left by Aaron Hernandez, there has been widespread speculation regarding who it was addressed to. An early report by Daily Mail indicated that the third note was addressed to Hernandez’ “gay prison lover,” a fellow inmate that the publication claimed had been placed on “eye to eye suicide watch” after the athlete was found dead.
Now, reports NBC News, all three suicide notes were released to Aaron Hernandez’ family on Monday. Worcester County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Paul Jarvey confirmed that two of the notes were addressed to Hernandez’ fiance and daughter, but refused to verify the intended recipient of the controversial third note, claiming not to be sure who it was addressed to.
“The information I have is unclear.”
While DA’s office claims ignorance with regard to the intended recipient of the third note, an attorney for the man many have labeled Hernandez’ lover has released a statement claiming that one of the notes was addressed to his client and that legal channels would be pursued to obtain it.
The release of the suicide notes was ordered by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire, who ruled that “any suicide or other notes” written by Hernandez in connection with his death be produced and released. At this time it doesn’t appear that the family has received the original suicide notes, but rather copies. According to the DA’s spokesman, the notes in question were emailed to the attorney representing Hernandez’ fiance.
According to the judge’s ruling, the headline-grabbing suicide notes were to have been released Aaron Hernandez’ family before he was laid to rest. His burial was scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. Monday in Bristol, Connecticut. By all accounts, that deadline was met by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
According to the lawyer representing Jenkins-Hernandez, the district attorney had previously refused to release the suicide notes in the Aaron Hernandez case to his grieving family members, even after his death was ruled a suicide, something that happened incredibly quickly according to Massachusetts District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
“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.”
The refusal of the state to release the suicide notes to Aaron Hernandez’ family as requested, despite the ongoing media reports involving their content, reportedly prompted his fiance to file a motion early Monday demanding their release.
According to the judge’s order, the district attorney had the authority to redact any portion of the suicide notes that had the potential to impair ongoing investigations. Despite this authority, the notes were reportedly released to Aaron Hernandez’ family in their entirety.
“The family has the right, during this grieving process, to know their loved one’s final thoughts.”
While Hernandez’ death has been officially ruled a suicide, his family, including Jenkins-Hernandez, fully intends to “investigate all of the circumstances regarding Aaron Hernandez’s death.” So far, the contents of the Hernandez suicide notes have not been made public.
[Featured Image by Keith Bedford /The Boston Globe/Pool/AP Images]