Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder killed himself in Massachusetts prison cell on Wednesday morning days after he was acquitted in a separate murder case.
Corrections officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley found him hanging by a bed sheet attached to a window about 3:05 a.m.
“Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit. He hanged himself utilizing a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window. He also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items,” a statement from the Department of Correction reads, the Boston Globe reported.
According to New York Post, the 27-year-old was rushed to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 am, officials said in a statement.
Christopher Fallon, DOC spokesman said he was not on suicide watch because there had been no indication he planned on hurting himself. He added that investigations are ongoing and there is no suicide note in his Unit G-2cell.
Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of killing Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player who was dating the sister of his fiancée and prosecutors said there was no chance he would ever be a free man again.
He had also been facing murder charges in the July 2012 deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, two men killed in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub. The jury, however, found him not guilty of first-degree murder in their killings but convicted him of unlawful possession of a gun. As a result, he was sentenced to an additional four to five years in prison, separate from his existing life sentence, for that conviction.
The defence team pointed the finger at Alexander Bradley, a close friend of Hernandez who was with him the night of the shootings. Last week, Hernandez also was acquitted of shooting Bradley in the face months later to try to silence him as a witness. Bradley reportedly claimed the accused became enraged after de Abreu bumped into him while dancing, spilling his drink. He said Hernandez later opened fire on the men’s car as they waited at a stoplight.
About six weeks after Furtado and de Abreu were killed, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed. He played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012.
He was cut from the team shortly after his arrest for Llyod’s murder in June 2013. He was not charged in the 2012 killings until 2014.
In his first trial, jurors deliberated for 37 hours over seven days before convicting him of murder.
Hernandez’s death comes on the day his former team is set to visit the White House to celebrate its February Super Bowl victory.