Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in his prison cell

Lynette Rowe
April 20, 2017

The Massachusetts maximum security prison where Aaron Hernandez apparently hanged himself has seen its share of troubles since it opened almost two decades ago.

Former American football star and convicted killer Aaron Hernandez was found dead in prison on Wednesday after hanging himself with a bedsheet in his cell.

In a maximum-security prison outside Boston, about an hour from the stadium where he played alongside stars like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowsi, Hernandez jammed the door to his one-man cell lest guards try to stop him, and put an early end to the life-without-parole sentence he received for a 2013 murder.

That verse says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". The Washington Post reported that a Bible found in his cell was reportedly opened to that page. The Department of Corrections says he was in single cell in a general population unit and that he "hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window".

While Hernandez was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, he was reportedly placed on suicide watch in 2015, after he had been sentenced to life in prison for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He had attempted to block the door from the inside by jamming it with various items, prison officials said.

Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and just days ago was acquitted of a double murder, died after hanging himself in his prison cell Wednesday, April 19, 2017, MA prisons officials said.

Leslie Walker, executive director of the nonprofit Prisoners' Legal Services of MA, believes it's the first successful suicide by that method at the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center.

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The apparent suicide left friends, family and his legal team shocked and in disbelief.

"There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible", said a statement released by his lawyer Jose Baez. "Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence". "H$3 e would never take his own life", he added.

Friends also were grieving in CT, where Hernandez was raised.

Within a year of the prison's opening, a man convicted of killing a Rhode Island corrections officer stabbed the prison's superintendent with a sharpened piece of metal.

Suicide in 2016 surged to the highest levels in the United States in almost 30 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Indeed, that was the reaction of others hearing the news - after all, Hernandez in theory was a successful appeal of Lloyd's murder away from walking the streets again after a jury found Hernandez not guilty less than a week ago in the double-murder case involving two other men killed in a drive-by shooting.

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