New information has emerged around the suicide of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, with the revelation that he was placed on suicide watch in 2015.
Shortly after Hernandez received life sentence without possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in April 2015, he was reportedly taken to MCI-Cedar Junction in Massachusetts, where he was kept separate from the rest of the inmate population for evaluation and to protect him from other inmates, according to TMZ.
Hernandez was placed on suicide watch at the prison, which is reportedly not rare for inmates who have recently received a life sentence. Hernandez later transferred to a different prison, where letters to fans appeared to show him in a better mental state.
Hernandez was found hanged with a bedsheet in his prison cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, CNN reports.
“Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez, and he was transported to Mass Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 A.M.,” said the Massachusetts Department of Correction in a statement.
Hernandez had reportedly “attempted to block his door with various items,” according to the statement.
“The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron’s death,” said Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez. “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,” said Baez. “Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death.”
Hernandez’s death came just days after he was acquitted in a double murder case.
The former Patriots tight end had been charged in 2014 with the 2012 deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, who were killed in a drive-by shooting at a night club in Boston.
On April 14, Hernandez was found not guilty of those murders, although he was found guilty for illegal possession of a firearm.
“You could tell that he was relieved as well,” said Ronald Sullivan Jr., Hernandez’s attorney. “He was charged for something somebody else did, and that is a weighty burden for anyone to shoulder.”
After his acquittal in the double murder case, Baez said that he hoped he could get the ruling in the Lloyd murder case overturned.
“Knowing what I know about Aaron, and knowing Aaron, there’s a good chance that perhaps we can get that reversed,” said Baez.
The Patriots said that they were aware of Hernandez’s death, but declined to comment further.
Sources: TMZ, CNN / Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr