Aaron Hernandez, the ex-NFL star who was serving a life sentence for murder and just days ago had been acquitted of a double murder was found dead in his jail cell after hanging himself, according to Massachusetts prison officials.
The 27-year-old former tight end for the New England Patriots was discovered by guards at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., around 3 a.m., Wednesday and was pronounced dead an hour later at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital. He left no suicide note. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He used a bed sheet that was attached to a cell window, Massachusetts Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.
Last Friday, Hernandez was acquitted of the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a Bosto nightclub. But was already serving life after a conviction for the 2013 death of Odin Lloyd who was dating the sister of his fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins.
Prison officials say they had no indication that Hernandez was suicidal, and if he were they would have moved him to a mental health unit, according to the Associated Press.
Hernandez went to the Patriots as a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and was a crucial part of the offensive lineup led by quarterback Tom Brady. He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI, although the team lost to the New York Giants 21-17. But in 2013, Hernandez was charged with the slaying of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player. The Patriots cut him from the team and he was convicted of the murder in 2015 and later sentenced to life behind bars. He was later indicted for the 2012 double homicide of De Abreu and Furtado. But a jury convening on April 14, did not convict him of those homicides.
The Patriots have been made aware of Hernandez’ death, but have not made plans to make any comments as the incident occurred on the day the team is scheduled to visit the White House in celebration of their win in Super Bowl LI.
The NFL has not yet released a statement.