Less than a week after former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty of two counts of murder from a shooting in 2012, the 27-year-old was found dead in his jail cell. Serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, many found it strange that the ex-Patriot would commit suicide in the middle of his appeal, and the legalities of his death may end up costing the Patriots and the NFL a lot of money.
On top of that, Hernandez’s former lawyer Jose Baez has said that the state of Massachusetts is “illegally” holding the brain of the ex-NFL star after a medical examiner performed his autopsy, per ESPN.
As reported on Friday by CNN, the former player was found not guilty of two counts of murder in the killing of two men in 2012 drive-by shooting outside of a nightclub in Boston. He ended up being found guilty of just one of eight counts brought against him, and that was an illegal possession of a firearm charge.
On Wednesday, Aaron was found dead in his prison cell, hanged, and with a Bible verse written on his forehead. Thursday morning, confusion set in as legal loopholes may actually force the NFL and the New England Patriots to pay the former player’s family his salary and signing bonus from 2013.
By Thursday afternoon, things became even more confusing once the player’s body was released to a funeral home, but his brain was not returned.
According to TMZ Sports, Jose Baez is claiming that the former tight end may not have died as a result of suicide, but he believes it may have actually been murder. The murder is believed to be something that happened by those who run the prison or other inmates being held there.
His family has said to be extremely “devastated” by the whole situation, and their ordeal is far from over.
Total Pro Sports is reporting that there is a possible legal loophole in the state of Massachusetts which states Aaron may have technically died as an innocent person. If that ends up being the case, it could result in the New England Patriots having to pay the player’s $2.5 million base salary and $3.25 signing bonus that were both withheld after his arrest in 2013.
The NFL had also withheld pension payments due to a clause in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the NFLPA.
Attny for Odin Lloyd’s family tells @StephMachado they’ll look to see if Patriots will have to pay Hernandez contract if conviction vacated
— Tim White (@TimWhiteRI) April 19, 2017
Due to Aaron’s failure to appeal, per lawyer Michael Coyne to CSNNE, his convictions could end up being vacated. That goes for the gun charge and his involvement in the murder of Odin Lloyd, and if that happens, the former NFL star would be considered and innocent man.
This could result in his estate or his family or his wife and daughter being in a position to possibly recover some of the signing bonus, salary, or pension payments owed to him by the Patriots and the NFL.
While that money would end up as a nice recovery if his family can get it from the Patriots and the NFL, it would not likely be in their possession long. The family of Odin Lloyd is continuing to move forward with their wrongful death civil case against Hernandez.
Attorney for Ursula Ward, mother of Odin Lloyd, tells me their civil case against Aaron Hernandez is “full-speed ahead.”
— Steph Machado (@StephMachado) April 19, 2017
As if all of that isn’t enough for everyone involved to have to deal with, there is now the matter of the former NFL player’s autopsy.
Early on Thursday, an autopsy was performed by a medical examiner from the state of Massachusetts, but the findings have not yet been released. Hernandez’s body was released to a funeral home so that the family may have a service, but ESPN reports that the state is still holding onto his brain,
Lawyer Jose Baez has said what the state is doing is illegal and that the player’s family is prepared to go to court if necessary, and they will also be seeking an independent autopsy. The state has said that no information has been released as this situation is still an ongoing investigation.
The death of Aaron Hernandez is one that is tragic and extremely confusing, but even with his passing, this case is far from over. While his death has originally been seen as a suicide, there are those that believe it may have been murder since it made no sense for him to take his own life. Now, the legal issues regarding the appeal of his life sentence may end up costing the New England Patriots and NFL millions of dollars.
Now, things have become even more confusing and chaotic as it will be interesting to see when the player’s brain is actually returned to his family.
[Featured Image by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]