Aaron Hernandez Found With Shank In His Prison Cell, Gets Transferred To Segregation Unit

Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who is now serving life for murder, was found with a so-called "shank" in his prison cell and has been transferred to a segregation unit, WHDH (Boston) is reporting.

Since April 2015, Aaron Hernandez has been serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at Massachusetts' maximum-security Souza Baranowski Correctional Center.

On Thursday, according to prison sources speaking to WHDH, guards conducting a shakedown of Hernandez' cell found a "shank," a homemade knife used by prisoners. Sources did not describe the weapon or indicate how Hernandez came to be in possession of it.

Hernandez will be moved to the prison's "segregation" unit, which is where prisoners who need protective custody or who are a "concern" to the general population are housed.

A "shank," also sometimes called a "shiv," is a type of improvised prison weapon that inmates keep either for protection or for carrying out an assault on another inmate. Shanks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be made from toothbrushes (sanding down the end of the handle into a point), contraband pieces of metal or glass, even paper, according to Police Magazine.

This is not Aaron Hernandez' first time getting into trouble during his brief stint in prison, according to The New York Daily News. He's been involved in at least three other prison fights -- including one in which he agreed to act as the lookout for another inmate -- and he has been "disciplined" each time.

It's the latest development in the troubled life of a once-promising athlete whose career has been marred by off-the-field problems.

Going as far back as his freshman year as a Florida Gator, Aaron Hernandez has had multiple brushes with the law. As a freshman Gator in 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal, Hernandez was involved in a bar fight that resulted in a bouncer suffering moderate injuries; Hernandez wasn't prosecuted at the time. Also, in 2007, according to ESPN, a man matching Hernandez' description fired multiple rounds into an occupied vehicle that left two men wounded. At the time, Hernandez refused to talk to police, and no charges were filed against him; however, Massachusetts and Florida police are currently re-examining what possible role, if any, Hernandez may have played in the shooting.

In 2012, Hernandez was a suspect in a double murder in Boston, It would take prosecutors two years to build a case against Hernandez, and in 2014 he was indicted for the murders of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado. He has yet to go to trial for those murders.

The crime that put Aaron Hernandez behind bars for life took place in June, 2013. Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's then fiancee, Shaneah Jenkins, was shot and killed not far from Hernandez's home on June 17. Nine days later, on June 26, Hernandez was arrested and charged with Lloyd's murder.

Hernandez's motive for shooting Lloyd was "trivial," according to a June 2014 CNN report. Lloyd had apparently witnessed Hernandez storing guns and ammunition at a Franklin, Massachusetts apartment; later, an incident at a nightclub involving Lloyd and Hernandez appeared to have upset Hernandez. Driven by paranoia fueled by PCP and marijuana use, Hernandez decided to kill Lloyd.

Hernandez was found guilty of Lloyd's murder on April 15 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

As of this writing, it is unclear how long Aaron Hernandez will remain in his prison's segregation unit.

[Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]