There are only a handful of stories that capture your attention the way the Aaron Hernandez ordeal does. For those who are unaware, Aaron Josef Hernandez (November 6, 1989 – April 19, 2017) was a professional football player in the National Football League (the “NFL”), drafted by the New England Patriots organization (the “Patriots”). Hernandez was found dead at the age of 27, in his prison cell, just a few days after beating his double murder charges.
The timeline of events unfolded as follows. On Wednesday June 26, 2013, Hernandez was charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd, along with one count of carrying a firearm without a licence, two counts of possessing a large-capacity firearm, and two counts of possessing a firearm withoutan FID card. (An FID card is a firearms ID card and allows the holder to possess non-large-capacity rifles and shotguns in his or her home. It is not the same as a license to carry.) The Patriots cut Hernandez from their roster shortly after his arrest, along with his $40 million total contract extension.
Court documents and witness accounts later detailed that Hernandez, and two out-of-state accomplices, set out on June 17, 2013, to pick up Lloyd from Boston because he had “disrespected” Hernandez during an incident at a nightclub earlier that week. However, the only indication of a motive, provided in documentation, was that Lloyd had struck up a conversation with menwho Hernandez “had troubles with.” Just hours later, Lloyd was shot multiple times, with the two final shots being fired by someone standing directly above him.
As Bill Pennington of the New York Times reported, the police used a variety of investigative methods and relied on, essentially, the “internet of things” and electronic smart devices to build their case against Hernandez. Piecing together cellphone tower tracking, text messages and surveillance tapes — including video recorded by 14 cameras trained on the outside and inside of Hernandez’s home — the police constructed a timeline and concluded, in the words of McCauley, that Hernandez “orchestrated the execution” of Odin Lloyd, 27.
Pennington goes on to write about the prosecutions evidentiary reports, in which it was said to have found surveillance tapes that showed Hernandez in possession of firearms both, before and after, Lloyd was found murdered. Specifically, the time at which Hernandez was found leaving his vehicle with a gun at home, 3:29 am, followed shortly after Lloyd’s time of death.The videos indicate further evidence of Hernandez’s involvement, as it was shown that the late football player was“observed picking up Lloyd at 2:30 a.m. on the night he was killed.” In addition, a silver Nissan Altima was spotted going to and from the location in which Odin Lloyd’s body was found – which was the same make of a vehicle that Aaron Hernandez had rented.
The plot takes a further twist here, as it was later revealed that this investigation led police to believe that Hernandez was tied to a separate double homicide in 2012.Investigators allege that the former Patriot, and an associate, followed the victims in an SUV, after they left a night club at 2 a.m., on July 16, 2012. When the victims stopped at a red light, Hernandez pulled the SUV along the right side of their BMW car and opened fire on its passenger side with a .38 revolver.
Police say Abreu, the driver, suffered multiple wounds, including a fatal gunshot to the chest, and Furtado, who was in the passenger seat, suffered a fatal shot to the head. Of the three remaining passengers in the car, one was shot in the arm and the other two escaped unharmed. Hernandez was also indicted on charges of three counts of armed assault and attempted murder for these allegations.
The incident raises interesting questions. Was the Lloyd murder in any way connected to these apparent random killings? Could it be possible that the people Lloyd was speaking to at the night club, ultimately causing Hernandez to become enraged, have any connection to the double homicide that Hernandez was charged with, subsequently?
If all of this was not complicated enough before, the story takes on a completely different complexion once Hernandez’s suicide and its implications are taken into account. As confirmed by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, on April 19, 2017 Hernandez was found naked, hanging from a bedsheet in his prison cell, with drawings and markings on the wall written in what is presumed to be his own blood.
This prompted several other consequences and legal implications, the most interesting of which was speculation that he intended his suicide to benefit his young daughter. In a letter written by Aaron Hernandez, to his 5-year-old daughter Avielle, it seemed as though the player had accepted that his death was nearing, and was reminding his daughter that he will always be there with her. The letter says “I’m entering to the timeless realm in which I can enter into any form at any time” to which he continued on to say, “there’s no need to fear, but what you do unto another will come back around.”
Although the last line of his letter to his daughter seems like a confession, Hernandez seemed to have wanted the best for his family. The player’s attorney, Jose Baez, has written a book, which contains these letters to Hernandez’s family, in which he says the proceeds from the book will help create a college fund for the former football star’s daughter – as a way for her to “know there’s a different side to the story of her father.”
The suicide, and the notes that preceded it, were eerie, but it is important to note that Hernandez did suffer from a severe case of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a cognitive problem that many football players face as a result of head injury. This may have played a role in
the death of Aaron Hernandez, in addition to the mentally straining conditions of prison. The case, all together, is extremely conflicting – from the first homicide, to the club shooting, and even Aaron Hernandez’s death – it leads many to question how the player could risk all that he worked for.