On Wednesday morning, a jury of 12 found former New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder in the June, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd. Judge E. Susan Garsh sentenced Hernandez to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a sentence he will serve at MCI Cedar-Junction in Walpole, Massachusetts.
UPDATE: Aaron Hernandez was moved to Souza Baranowski Correctional Center on April 22.
The state prison that Aaron Hernandez will call home for the rest of his natural life, barring a victorious appeal by his defense team, is located less than two miles from the Patriots’ home base, Gillette Stadium.
— Peter Wilson (@PetesWire) April 15, 2015
MCI-Cedar Junction, formerly known as MCI-Walpole, is an all-male maximum-security prison that houses approximately 800 inmates. According to the Boston Globe, the prison “smells like formaldehyde on hot days.” Most inmates live in cramped cells with another prisoner, and share one toilet.
Keith Cousin, an inmate at the prison serving a life term, tells Boston Globe reporter David Able that MCI-Cedar Junction is a “very, very depressing” place.
Hernandez, who once lived in a beautiful home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, with his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, and their now two-year-old daughter, Avielle, already has some experience with prison life. Since his June, 2013, arrest, he has been incarcerated in both the Bristol County House of Correction and the Suffolk County Jail. Still, the 25-year-old has a life sentence in a place that is a far cry from his brief experience as a multi-millionaire.
“New inmates are strip searched… scanned for metal objects and other contraband, fingerprinted, and given starchy gray scrubs, ill-fitting canvas shoes without laces, and a paper bag with essentials, including a dull razor, seven pairs of underwear, and a special pen designed so it can’t be used as a weapon.”
According to Kelsey Kauffman’s book, Prison Officers and Their World, the prison was one of the most violent prisons in the country back in the 70s. The Globe reports that in recent years, assaults against other inmates and staff have “dropped more than 50 percent.”
According to the Massachusetts Department of Safety, inmates have an opportunity to take part in employment programs while in prison, including a variety of positions in food service, janitorial, and industries departments. Wages begins at $.50 per hour, a big change from Hernandez’s $40 million contract with the New England Patriots.
Aaron Hernandez begins his life sentence today, but his time in court is not over. His legal team will appeal his conviction, and there is a pending double murder trial set to begin later in the year.
The indictments against Hernandez allege two counts of first-degree murder for the July 16, 2012, shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston’s South End. Sporting News reports that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office cancelled the original May 28 trial date, and have yet to reschedule it.
[Images: Jessey Dearring, Twitter @PetesWire]