Before hanging himself with a prison bedsheet, Aaron Hernandez cut his right middle finger and in blood drew circular marks on each of his feet, consistent with images of the feet of Jesus Christ after he was hung from the cross.
In red pen, Hernandez also wrote John 3:16 on his forehead, a scripture verse that declares eternal life for all – even the most wicked – as long as they believe God sent his son to perish for them.
On a nearby table, a Bible was open to John 3:16, with the verse marked in blood. “John 3:16” was also written in blood on the wall of Hernandez’s cell No. 57 of the G-2 unit of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.
All of this comes from a Massachusetts State Police report into Hernandez’s death on April 19. The report, released on Thursday evening, concludes Hernandez’s death was due to suicide and requests the case be closed unless further information becomes available.
The Worcester County (Mass.) medical examiner had also ruled it a suicide. After initially declaring skepticism at Hernandez taking his own life, his family has lately remained silent on the cause of death.
Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, did not dispute the conclusions of the report, but in a statement vowed “a thorough and independent investigation into this tragic death.” He blasted government officials for their “total lack of professionalism” during the process for not sharing information with the family and for numerous leaks that were reported in the media.
The report, written by trooper James Foley, offers the most details into the death of the former New England Patriots star who was serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Just five days prior to his death, Hernandez, 27, had been found not guilty in a 2012 double homicide in Boston.
Hernandez was locked in his cell at 7:59 p.m. on April 18, just after concluding a phone call. Correction officers last observed him during the routine 1 a.m. bed check on April 19.
Two hours later, at about 3:03 a.m., officer Gerard Breau came upon Hernandez’s cell and found a sheet covering the door, preventing a view inside. Breau called into the cell and told Hernandez to remove the sheet or at least call out. When there was no response, Breau poked at the sheet until it fell to the ground, where he discovered Hernandez naked, hanging from a cut-up bed sheet tied to a bar on a window.
Breau immediately summoned help. Hernandez was unresponsive to life-saving measures and declared dead about an hour later at a nearby hospital.
It appears Hernandez went to great lengths to both memorialize and assure his death. Corrections officers weren’t instantly able to open the automatic cell door because Hernandez had “pegged” it – “cardboard had been shoved into the door tracks to prevent the door from opening,” the report read.
Once inside, officers discovered “a large amount of shampoo on the floor, which made it very slippery.” That would make it more difficult for the suicide to be stopped if Hernandez’s feet ever touched the floor or if officers rushed in as he was dying.
Three suicide notes were left on a table nearby, although details of them were redacted in the report. Baez has said one was addressed to him, one was to Hernandez’s 4-year-old daughter, Avielle, and one was to his fiancée, Shayanna Hernandez-Jenkins.
In addition to “John 3:16” there were other drawings written in blood on the wall, although the report does not describe them.
There is no evidence in the report to suggest Hernandez’s death was the result of anything but suicide. Hernandez’s body showed marks around his neck, blood in his eyes and vomit and discharge from his mouth, each consistent with hanging. The report states that officers discovered no evidence of a struggle in the cell and no “trauma or violence on Hernandez’s body.”
State police also reviewed surveillance video form the G-2 block that showed no activity around Hernandez’s cell that night.
“Hernandez enters his cell alone at approximately 1959 hrs and the cell door is locked until 0307 hrs when the door is opened for the code “99” [emergency],” the report reads. “[Foley] also listened to the last five phone calls Hernandez made on April 18, 2017. Hernandez does not make any apparent indication of an intent to harm himself during any of the phone calls.”
The three letters were taken, along with known examples of Hernandez’s writing, to an outside expert who determined with a “reasonable degree of certainty” that Hernandez wrote them.
Hernandez’s blood was taken and came back negative for all drugs tested, including synthetic marijuana.
Read the report here:
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