Defense team to conduct own probe of Aaron Hernandez death
State police are probing the suicide of convicted killer and ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez in a Massachusetts prison this morning, and his legal team is vowing its own investigation.
“The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron’s death,” Hernandez’s defense lawyer, Jose Baez, who had just won his acquittal on double-murder charges on Friday, said in a statement this morning. “There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible. Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death. We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation.”
Baez added: “The Baez Law Firm will participate in its own examination into this tragic event and update the media and public on its findings when they become available.”
Hernandez, 27, was found hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center in Shirley at approximately 3:05 a.m., a statement by Department of Correction spokesman Christopher M. Fallon.
“The Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Correction are investigating the death of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said in a statement.
Hernandez, who was appealing a life sentence for the first-degree 2013 murder of his friend Odin Lloyd, had been found not guilty Friday of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End.
Hernandez, who had been convicted Friday only of an illegal gun charge, was in a single cell in a general population unit at the prison, Fallon said.
“Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window,” Fallon said. “Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items. ”
After he was found, “lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMass-Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital,” Fallon said.
The suicide stunned those who knew Hernandez.
“Absolutely no chance he took his own life,” tweeted Hernandez’s former agent, Athletes First president Brian Murphy. “Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy in Boston to determine the cause and manner of death, Early said.
“There’s no indication he left a suicide note,” Fallon said.
Hernandez is survived by numerous relatives, including his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and his 4-year-old daughter.
William T. Kennedy, who represents the families of de Abreu and Furtado, said their wrongful-death lawsuits will still go forward, only this time against Hernandez’s estate.