Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell last night after apparently hanging himself, Massachusetts authorities say:
On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanged in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m., lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital. Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit. Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming his door with various items. The Massachusetts State Police are on the scene and the investigation continues. Mr. Hernandez’s next of kin have been notified.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a friend who he had become suspicious of for reasons that have never been fully explained. However, he was acquitted last week for the July 2012 murders of two other men outside a nightclub, and per TMZ one of his lawyers in that case, Jose Baez, suspects foul play and has "launched an investigation" into what happened:
We're told Baez believes this could be a murder either by inmates or the folks who run the prison.
Baez says the family is "devastated" and does not believe Aaron was in a frame of mind to take his life.
Baez—who, incidentally, was one of Casey Anthony's lawyers and was accused by a private investigator of having allowed Anthony to pay him via sexual favors—said last week that he hoped to have the Lloyd conviction overturned. (Baez has denied that he had any sexual relationship with Anthony.)
Hernandez has maintained a relationship with his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, since his initial 2013 arrest, and she brought their 4-year-old daughter to his most recent trial. (Though Jernkins-Hernandez has taken Hernandez's name, they are not married.)
Although he was acquitted of the most serious charges in the double-murder case, Hernandez is known to have been in the vicinity of its victims with a man named Alexander Bradley—who Hernandez's defense team says is the one who actually committed the killings—on the night of the crimes. Bradley, meanwhile, later accused Hernandez in a lawsuit of shooting him outside a strip club in Miami in Feb. 2013.
This post has been updated with new information.