On Wednesday, the world woke up to the news that former NFL tight-end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell at the maximum security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts
The 27-yr-old ex-New England Patriots player had just been acquitted in a double murder case on Friday and his lawyer Jose Baez stated he believed Hernandez had a real shot at getting his previous murder conviction overturned.
He was serving a life sentence with no possibility for parole after being convicted of killing his sister’s boyfriend, Odin Lloyd, in 2013.
“Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window,” a representative for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections said in a statement, adding, “Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”
Officials say Hernandez was discovered at 3:05 AM on Wednesday morning, and they tried to save his life. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 AM.
Hernandez was not on suicide watch and there was no reason to believe he was planning to take his own life, Fallon told The Associated Press, adding that they would have moved him to a mental health unit if that were the case.
No suicide note was found with the body and no correspondence had been sent to his family indicating he was considering taking his life. Now Hernandez’ lawyer has launched an investigation into the death, saying that he believes it was a case of murder, not suicide.
After being acquitted of the double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado on Friday, Hernandez reportedly broke down in tears and sent an air kiss to his 4-year-old daughter.
Baez believes this could be a murder either by inmates or the people who run the prison.
Baez says the family is “devastated” and does not believe Aaron was in a frame of mind to take his own life.
As an interesting sidebar, according to Massachusetts law, Hernandez died an innocent man.
In the eyes of the state of Massachusetts, former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez died an innocent man, thanks to an archaic legal principle called “abatement ab initio,” said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel to the Massachusetts Bar Association. Though Hernandez was convicted in 2014 of murdering Odin Lloyd of Boston, Hernandez’s appeal was not complete. Abatement ab initio means “from the beginning,” Healy said, and it means that upon a person’s death, if they have not exhausted their legal appeals, their case reverts to its status at the beginning — it’s as if the trial and conviction never happened. “Unfortunately, in the Odin Lloyd matter, for the family, there won’t be any real closure,” said Healy. “Aaron Hernandez will go to his death an innocent man.” The principle comes from English common law, Healy said, and is observed by several of the older states in the nation. It rarely comes up in practice, he said, and people forget it exists.
H/T: TMZ Sports