Most are familiar with the name Aaron Hernandez from the swarms of controversy that began with murder allegations in 2013, of which he was finally found guilty in 2015.
Recently, he had become the center of yet another murder investigation, facing eight counts from an incident in October of 2012 where two men were killed in a drive-by shooting. On Friday, April 14, 2017, Hernandez was acquitted of all but one of those counts: possession of a firearm.
Then, only five days later on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell.
Prison officials uncovered Hernandez around 3:00 am, where it appeared he attempted to bar the door with items from his cell before using his bed sheet to hang himself. Resuscitation efforts were made until medical help arrived to transport Hernandez to a local hospital. Unfortunately, this is where the former NFL star was pronounced dead at 4:07 am.
The timing seems eerie to some as today marks the Patriots visit to the White House, a tradition carried out by the Super Bowl champion for many years. Because of such, no Patriots comment has been made on the incident. In his time with the Patriots, Hernandez was a dual-threat with fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski, catching for 175 passes and 18 touchdowns, appearing in one Super Bowl of his own.
Family and those close to Hernandez say nothing indicated any signs of suicidal thoughts or potential actions. With the case under investigation, sources reached out to Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoner’s Legal Services of Massachusetts, who, when asked if Hernandez should have been on suicide watch, commented it was “hard to tell” She continued on to say, “Five days after a series of acquittals, I don’t think many people would be as concerned about his mental health as they might have been, say, during the trial.”
Not everyone is buying this apparent suicide. Hernandez’s agent during his three years in the NFL, Brian Murphy, took to twitter to say “Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.” Jose Baez, Hernandez’s attorney, has requested a “transparent and thorough” investigation into the possibility of murder.
Thoughts to his family and friends have continued to pour in from former teammates and the NFL community as a whole.