Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, who was serving life without parole for murder, committed suicide Wednesday morning in his cell, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said in a statement. He was found at 3:05 a.m. hanged in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts. Corrections officers attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Just a few years ago, Hernandez was one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Alongside Rob Gronkowski and receiving passes from Tom Brady, this team had tremendous potential. While New England has been extremely successful without him, no one will ever know what could have been if Hernandez stayed on the right track.
Hernandez was sentenced in 2013 as responsible for the shooting of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. He was acquitted last week of two other murders that occurred in 2012. While he was acquitted of these charges, he still was serving a life in prison sentence with no parole.
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the fiancé of Hernandez, is now suing the Massachusetts Department of Correction for not preserving the evidence surrounding the case. Jenkins-Hernandez filled out documents to prevent and evidence from being destroyed, according to TMZ Sports.
While there was some ambiguity surrounding the death of Hernandez at first, it was ruled, based on the autopsy, that he did commit suicide.
Jose Baez, Hernandez’s lawyer, expressed that he believed Hernandez would not kill himself and that this could have been a murder case.
As investigators dive deeper into the evidence, some think that Hernandez may have murdered Lloyd in an effort to hide his bi-sexuality. Right before Lloyd was killed, he was dating Shaneah Jenkins who was the sister of Jenkins-Hernandez. It is possible that Hernandez feared Lloyd telling Jenkins, and then her telling his fiancé. This is arising as a possible motive for the murder of Lloyd.
Lloyd’s family is now asking the Patriots to pay voluntary damages, potentially millions of dollars, as a part of the lawsuit.
“That would be the right thing to do,” family attorney Douglas Sheff told reporters Friday, standing with Ursula Ward, the mother of slain semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. “That would make the Patriots Ursula Ward’s champion.”
This may have been much more realistic if Hernandez had not committed suicide. The death of Hernandez has thrown a wrench in the legal process and now many other issues arise.
As a result of the case being appealed at the time of Hernandez’s death, it leaves the case in limbo; which would result in the state voiding his conviction entirely. This is a loophole in the legal system known as “abatement ab initio,” or “from the beginning.”
Essentially, this would make Hernandez, under the law, not guilty for the murder because the case was never carried out fully under due process. Thus, he would have never violated the Patriots contract he signed just before getting arrested and New England would be obligated to pay him. The amount, as of now, is not identified. However, it is expected that the payout will be around the $6 million point. This money would go to his family as he cannot accept it himself. This loophole has resolved the notion that Hernandez was murdered as many thought earlier in the week.
Thus, the money remaining on Hernandez’s $40 million contract is expected to go to his family.
As for the family of Lloyd, it is not likely that they will receive any payment from the Patriots. The only reason they are doing this is due to the magnitude of this case and the money the patriots have as an organization. Would they do the same if the person that killed Lloyd was a worker at Wal-Mart, or not as high-profile as Hernandez? Most likely, they would not.
Of course, this is a tragic situation for the Lloyd family. It just does not make sense for them to receive any payment from the New England Patriots.
The investigation is ongoing. Just this week, so much has unfolded regarding the case and details behind it. As time goes on, more details will come to the table. But for now, all the state has to work with are allegations; they are still working on finding cold facts and evidence to carry out this case as accurate as possible.