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Patriots' Aaron Hernandez questioned in homicide probes, found hanged

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  • Originally posted by bayoudreamn View Post
    I think that by looking at how swiftly New England and other franchises have acted to cut problematic players since this occurred, you'll see that the NFL does not want this to be repeated. It's bad for business the first time, if it happens more than once it's disastrous. The culture will change and it'll change now. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business......this level of business can't allow will kill the brand.
    Tough one. Up to this point in NFL history, pro sports has put up w/ pretty much anything in exchange for talent. Will the current admin have the nerve to change it? So far, they have made major strides.

    However, I don't buy into fans not showing up because of character. See Michael Vick. They are still letting thugs in, and that most likely will never change. Maybe they'll make a few courtesy suspensions, but in the end, they'll be let back in, just as Vick was. Vick did not kill the brand, other thugs won't kill the brand. People are going to keep showing up in droves and buying stuff in mountains, even if a few thugs are allowed to remain in the league. Make a few token moves to keep the natives happy, sure, but nothing will change. Just wait until the next megastar gets in trouble, and see what happens. Gonna be interesting.
    Why do people point toward their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point toward their hooha when asking where the bathroom is?


    • Aaron Hernandez pal pleads guilty to accessory in murder
      FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A friend of former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez pleaded guilty on Monday to accessory after the fact for helping the NFL player after he shot a man to death in 2013.

      Hernandez was convicted in Massachusetts last year for the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancé's sister. He is serving life without the possibility of parole, although has said he intends to appeal.

      The reason for the killing remains unclear. At the time, Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.

      Carlos Ortiz, 30, of Bristol, Connecticut, changed his plea to guilty on Monday in Bristol County Superior Court in Massachusetts as part of a deal with prosecutors, who dropped murder charges against him. He was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 7 years in prison.

      Ortiz and Ernest Wallace were with Hernandez the night of Lloyd's death. Prosecutors used surveillance video and other evidence to show that the three men traveled to Boston together, picked up Lloyd, and then brought him to a deserted industrial park near Hernandez's home. He was found shot to death at the park hours later.

      Both Ortiz and Wallace were initially charged with accessory after the fact and later charged with murder. Wallace was tried earlier this year and convicted of the accessory charge, but found not guilty of murder. He also was sentenced to 4 ½ to 7 years in prison.

      During Monday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh led Ortiz through a series of questions asking whether he understood the changes and understood the consequences of a guilty plea.

      She explained that prosecutors would have had to prove that Ortiz knew Hernandez killed Lloyd, and she asked him how he knew that.

      "When we got to the spot, the only two people that got out of the car was Aaron Hernandez and Odin Lloyd," Ortiz told her. He said when he heard the gunshot, he turned around to look.

      "The only one person that came in was Aaron Hernandez," he said.

      Later, Ortiz began to cry as he listened to Lloyd's mother speak about how much she missed her son.

      "My heart aches, for three years of not hearing my son's voice, not seeing his smiling face," Ursula Ward said.

      The plea brings an end to the criminal case in Lloyd's killing, but Hernandez's legal woes are not over. He has pleaded not guilty to a 2012 double murder in Boston, and is also facing multiple civil lawsuits.
      If you read only one thing this month, read this on how the NFL is covered today and how it should be covered locally:


      • Aaron Hernandez appears during a hearing at Suffolk Superior Court. (Angela Rowlings/The Boston Herald via AP)

        Aaron Hernandez identified in court as shooter in 2012 double murder

        A Boston man pointed out Aaron Hernandez in court Tuesday as the shooter in a 2012 double murder for which the former New England Patriot is on trial. Hernandez is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 2013 murder.

        Raychides Sanches told prosecutors that he was a passenger in a car that had stopped at a Boston intersection when an SUV pulled up next to it. Someone in that vehicle said, “What’s up, negroes?” before gunfire sprayed Sanches’s car, killing two friends of his and wounding another.

        “We were in panic. Screaming, crying, crazy,” Sanches told the courtroom (via the Boston Globe). When asked to identify the shooter, Sanches nodded in the direction of Hernandez.

        “Looked like him,” he said (via the Associated Press). “Hernandez.”

        The passenger who was wounded in the incident, Aquilino Freire, told the court that he could not provide as many details as Sanches did, but he described the shooter as being light-skinned and having tattoos with no beard.

        Their statements came during a pretrial hearing to address several aspects of the case, including whether the testimony of Sanches and Freire will be allowed in the trial. Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke will decide later on that issue, but he denied a defense motion Tuesday to delay the trial; jury selection is set to begin in February.

        Hernandez is accused of gunning down 29-year-old Daniel de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Furtado following an incident at a nightclub in which the then-Patriots tight end got angry at being jostled. Authorities allege that he got into the SUV with a former friend, Alexander Bradley, then followed the offending group’s car.

        Prosecutors expect Bradley to provide the crucial identification of Hernandez as the shooter, with supporting testimony from Sanches and Freire. Hernandez has also been charged with witness intimidation for allegedly shooting Bradley in the face and leaving him to die in a Florida industrial park in 2013.

        Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in both the double-murder and Bradley cases.

        Aaron Hernandez's Gun Tats Can Be Used Against Him ... Judge Rules
        Aaron Hernandez's gun tattoos -- which he allegedly got to commemorate 2 violent crimes -- can be used against him in his double murder case ... a judge has ruled.

        Prosecutors believe the ex-NFL star memorialized two violent incidents, including the 2012 double murder, by getting the weapons he used tatted on his body.

        In the murder case, prosecutors believe the killer fired 5 shots from a revolver ... and believe it's no coincidence that Aaron went out and got a tat of a revolver with 5 bullets along with the words, "God Forgives."

        Prosecutors also believe another tattoo of a semi-automatic pistol with a single spent shell casing commemorates the time he shot a guy in the face in 2013 with a semi-automatic pistol.

        Aaron's lawyers argued that the tats should NOT be admissible -- claiming it was "rank speculation."

        But the judge ruled there's too much of a connection to ignore -- and will allow prosecutors to present them as evidence in court.

        Hernandez is accused of killing two people in a drive-by shooting after they accidentally bumped into him inside a Boston nightclub. He's already serving a life sentence for killing another man in 2013.

        The double murder trial begins on Feb. 13th.

        Aaron Hernandez Associate Gets 5 Years For Hartford Bar Shooting

        Alexander Bradley, the East Hartford man who says his eye was shot out by former New England Patriots star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for shooting up a Hartford bar.

        Bradley has been in prison since his arrest in the case three years ago. He was also sentenced to five years special parole.

        "I'm not the same person I was three years ago," Bradley told Superior Court Judge Julia D. Dewey. "It was a tumultuous time in my life. I was going through some traumatic events."

        Bradley, 34, already had been shot three times on Feb. 3, 2014, when he opened fire on the front of the Vevo Lounge on Meadow Street. He'd been shot moments earlier by Leslie Randolph after the two had a disagreement over money that spilled outside the club, court records show. Randolph was captured on surveillance video firing at Bradley.

        Bradley, whose wounds included a gunshot wound to the "crotch area," retrieved a handgun from his car and tried to get into back the club. Bouncers saw him coming and locked the doors, prosecutor Vicki Melchiorre told Judge Julia D. Dewey. So Bradley opened fire on the club.

        People inside dove for cover as Bradley fired about 11 rounds. No one was hit. Bradley then returned to his car, tossed the gun to his cousin and the pair drove off. They were stopped a moment later by Hartford police and Bradley was taken into custody.

        Bradley was a witness in Hernandez's first murder trial for the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in 2013. The trial ended with Hernandez's conviction and a sentence of life with prison without the possibility of parole.

        Bradley is also scheduled to be a witness in Hernandez's current trial on charges he shot and killed two men in Boston in 2012.

        As a condition of his parole, Bradley must appear at the Hernandez trial if he is subpoenaed.

        Bradley opted for a plea agreement rather than a trial in his shooting case. He pleaded no contest to criminal possession of a firearm, first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree criminal mischief. If he took his case to trial, he faced a longer sentence if convicted.

        The terms of the plea agreement were negotiated by Melchiorre and defense attorney Robert Pickering of Hartford.
        If you read only one thing this month, read this on how the NFL is covered today and how it should be covered locally:


        • Fractured friendship of Aaron Hernandez and a gangster played out in bone-chilling court scene

          BOSTON – They were once best friends, confidants and keepers of the most wicked of secrets.

          “Inseparable,” Aaron Hernandez once described his relationship with Alexander Bradley.

          They were very much separated, however, Monday on the ninth floor of Suffolk Superior Court during Hernandez’s double murder trial.

          Separated by six court officers, either directly between them or ready to restrain. Separated by the distance between the witness stand (Bradley) and the defense table (Hernandez), although under different circumstances those positions could have been reversed. Separated because their relationship is as complex as it is combustible, most apparent perhaps when Bradley explained to the jury why he didn’t go to the police even after Hernandez allegedly pointed a gun between his eyebrows, fired and left him to die in an alley of an industrial area of South Florida.

          Bradley survived with one eye but all his vengeance. Talking to the cops didn’t just violate his no-snitching street ethos, it violated any sense of fairness.

          “I didn’t want to talk to the police,” Bradley said. “I wanted Mr. Hernandez. I wanted his life.”

          The tone chilled an already tense courtroom as Bradley stared his left eye, the one that still worked, directly at Hernandez. He tilted his head to the right and shook it in fury at his old friend. These were no empty words, no posing. Given the chance, Bradley would almost certainly kill Hernandez. And vice versa, at least if Hernandez learned that when it comes to Alexander Bradley, it takes more than one close-range shot to the skull to finish him.

          Judge Jeffrey Locke broke for lunch right then, leaving Bradley’s words and stare to hang over a jury stuck contemplating the levels of personal betrayal overwhelming this case. As court officers ushered Bradley out, he walked past Hernandez, the two of them locked in a shared look of pure menace.


          Hernandez is charged with killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a 2012 drive-by shooting after a brief encounter earlier at a Boston nightclub. Bradley is the state’s star witness, the driver of the vehicle Hernandez was in that night and the lone eyewitness capable of putting the gun in the former New England Patriot’s hand.

          Across a lengthy day of direct examination (the defense’s ferocious cross of Bradley is expected to begin Tuesday) the trial focused on the chaotic friendship of Bradley and Hernandez – the former a Connecticut drug trafficker, the latter an NFL star, each who share a propensity for rage and unnecessary violence that have dominated and doomed their lives thus far.

          Hernandez, 27, is serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Mass. Bradley, 34, is currently doing a five-year stint in Connecticut for indiscriminately shooting up a Hartford nightclub in 2013 after someone there shot him three times in the leg over a dispute about money.

          Together they make a pathetic pairing. Penned up and battle-scarred, each trying to save whatever is left of themselves by accusing the other of actually killing de Abreu and Furtado.

          Their relationship had begun through commerce, a buyer and a seller, Bradley often supplying marijuana on a payment plan because Hernandez was still just a college football player then, a Florida Gator, and money was tight. It wouldn’t be for long, though, not with the NFL beckoning.

          They became friends. They smoked a lot. They played video games a lot. They partied a lot together. They also provided something for the other. Hernandez allowed Bradley into his orbit of superstardom. Bradley gave Hernandez undeniable street toughness that he always coveted. Bradley was true gangster. He was also the rare peer who didn’t need his money.

          They also shared an unexpected level of depth. Hernandez, for all his tough-guy posturing, grew up in a two-parent, middle-class home, and had the gift of a chameleon. He went to college for three years. He could act like a thug, but he was smart and well spoken. So, too, was Bradley, who from the witness stand offered a large vocabulary. In his testimony, a car was a “vehicle,” a house was a “residence” and a gun was a “firearm.” Aaron Hernandez was “Mr. Hernandez.” He used legal jargon. Notes of his entered into evidence displayed admirable penmanship.

          At one point he described issuing Hernandez a death threat this way: “I expressed my feeling to him about how I wanted to handle the situation,” Bradley said.

          That’s one way to put it.


          Bonded by evenings of blunts and bottles, it was a rare day they didn’t at least check in by phone, and a rare week they weren’t hanging out two or three times, often in Boston nightclubs.

          The most fateful came in July 2012, when Bradley testified that Hernandez, angry that de Abreu didn’t pay him enough respect earlier in the night when he bumped into the Patriot and caused a drink to splash. Hernandez spotted de Abreu’s party driving away at closing time and ordered Bradley to follow in pursuit.

          Bradley did just that, running a red light to pull up alongside the Cape Verdean immigrant’s car. That’s when Bradley said Hernandez, wearing rosary beads as a necklace, fired five shots. He would have done more, but he was out of ammo.

          The two fled and headed back to Connecticut, each of them, according to Bradley, shocked at what had occurred.

          “He was kind of panicked,” Bradley said. “He said, ‘I hit one in the head and one in the chest.’

          “It wasn’t a bragging tone.”

          A plan was quickly enacted – stash the car and shut the hell up.

          Hernandez spent time combing through news reports. Bradley returned to dealing marijuana, up to 30 pounds a week. Soon Patriots camp beckoned, Hernandez signed a $40 million contract and played an entire season for the Pats, even as, according to Bradley, he became convinced he was being followed by detectives. Hernandez also reveled in his crime, though, according to Bradley, bestowing upon himself a new nickname: “Double A.”

          “It was a direct correlation to the double homicide,” Bradley said.

          Back in Boston, baffled detectives had no leads and no reason to suspect a New England Patriot in the crime. These two had seemingly got away with it. They grew even closer.


          Then came a trip to Florida in February 2013, a haphazardly planned vacation that spoke to their general dysfunction. They went to the airport but arrived so late they left their luggage in the car and traveled with just what they were wearing despite a plan to stay nearly a week before heading to Arizona. They tried to save money by staying at the West Palm Beach La Quinta Inn (“near the Hooters,” Bradley said), yet blew $10,000 one night at Tootsie’s Cabaret.

          They were stoned most of the time and drunk seemingly the rest. On one of their visits to Tootsie’s, which bills itself as “the Largest and Best Strip Club in America,” Hernandez became convinced that two fellow patrons were actually undercover cops following him.

          “I said, ‘If they are, it’s because of the stupid [expletive] you did in Boston,’ ” Bradley testified. “He became standoffish. He became upset.”

          The next night and another trip to Tootsie’s. By 5 in the morning, there was an argument over how to split up the sizeable bill from a private room. Then on the ride home, Bradley realized he’d forgotten his cell phone at the club, but Hernandez wouldn’t allow the car to be turned around (there were two other friends with them).

          They argued, then Bradley said he fell asleep, only to awaken when the car stopped down an alley near a John Deere dealership.

          “I woke up with Mr. Hernandez pointing a gun at my face,” Bradley said. “… Right between my eyebrows.”

          Hernandez fired. Bradley said his ears were ringing, blood was flowing everywhere and his right eye was finished, yet he somehow maintained consciousness. He said Hernandez and another guy pushed/pulled him out of the car and left him to die. He pulled himself up on a nearby fence, started walking and then was discovered by some workers from John Deere. They called an ambulance.

          At that moment Bradley had two goals.

          Live. Kill Hernandez.


          A homicide detective from the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Department showed up at the St. Mary’s Medical Center intensive care unit because Alexander Bradley was not expected to survive and, in a twist, maybe a homicide victim could grant an interview before he became a homicide victim. Only it was immediately clear that Bradley was going to survive and he wasn’t going to tell the cops anything.

          “I have no information for you sir, with all due respect,” Bradley is heard saying during the taped interview.

          Who shot you, the detective asked.

          “He’s a [expletive] [expletive] who did it,” Bradley said without naming a name.

          “Well, obviously, you have a big-*** hole in your head,” the detective said.

          After the cop left, Bradley borrowed a phone and called Hernandez, who answered and, according to Bradley, was stunned to hear the voice of a presumed dead man.

          “He said, ‘Who’s this?’ ” Bradley testified. “I said, ‘You know who this is.’ He was shocked. He definitely didn’t think I would survive.”

          Hernandez proceeded to hang up. Future phone calls didn’t go much better. In text messages, Hernandez denied knowing anything about anything. Three surgeries and one prosthetic eye later, Bradley recovered and returned to Connecticut, where he began trying to lure Hernandez into a meeting so he could murder him.

          “To make it even,” Bradley said.

          By late March he was also trying to wring money out of Hernandez, to compensate for the pain and suffering. Maybe that would have sufficed. Maybe Bradley would have killed him anyway, just with a lot of cash to boot. Bradley kept boasting in text messages about his gun arsenal and crew of six who would ride with him and all sorts of other potential mayhem he could unleash.

          Hernandez kept avoiding Bradley and ignoring most of the texts but it was clear the pressure was everywhere as spring turned to summer.

          Hernandez would have continued reason to fear the police busting him for whatever involvement he had in the de Abreu and Furtado murders – Hernandez’s defense claims that Bradley was the actual triggerman. Even if that was true, Hernandez’s mere presence at, and failure to report, a double homicide would lead to criminal charges and an end to his NFL career. He would also worry that Bradley could file a civil suit, which would likewise cause massive professional harm. Or Bradley could just hunt him down.

          By the start of Patriots training camp in late July, his daily whereabouts would be obvious and would make him an easy target.

          Then Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd on June 13, 2013, and was arrested a little over a week later. He hasn’t had a breath of free air since. The murder of Lloyd possibly spared Hernandez’s own murder, saving his life, even if that life is one of incarceration without the possibility of parole.

          Soon Boston police were piecing together the cold case of the 2012 double homicide. Hernandez’s presence at the Cure nightclub was no longer a curiosity but a lead. When the SUV they had been searching for was discovered in a Bristol, Conn., home connected with Hernandez, charges were filed.

          They sought Bradley and arrested him on a restraining order violation. With no other way to enact revenge on his old pal, he broke his code and ratted to the cops, delivering a lengthy statement about what happened that night in the South End. At the time, he hadn’t been granted immunity – although that would come soon. He’ll face no charges in this case.

          By the winter, though, he was locked up himself, for shooting up a bar in Hartford. It followed a 2006 conviction on dealing drugs and an unresolved arrest for assault with a firearm in Bridgeport, Conn. That is him. He’s no hero here. Had he turned Hernandez in after the double homicide, or his own shooting, he could have saved Lloyd’s life.

          Bradley has served over three years of his five-year sentence and claims he is now a different person, eager to get out and be a good father for his three children. Perhaps he means it. Hernandez will have no such chance at redemption, his daughter will grow up without him around.

          On Monday, though, Bradley looked no less angry, no less vengeful and no less capable of extreme violence. For all his poise and relative polish, it was too much to just sit and stare at Aaron Hernandez, the man, he said, blasted him in the face and tried to kill him, the man who doubted his loyalty. At times, Bradley grew so upset, the right side of his face twitched.

          From the stand, Bradley was trying to recount how he once wanted his old buddy dead. He sure looked like he still wished he could make it so.
          If you read only one thing this month, read this on how the NFL is covered today and how it should be covered locally:


          • Aaron Hernandez kills himself in prison

            Boston Globe
            Convicted killer and former New England Patriots star Aaron J. Hernandez hanged himself inside his cell at the state’s maximum security prison in Shirley early Wednesday, in an apparent suicide five days after he was acquitted of two additional murders.

            Hernandez, 27, was serving life without parole for killing Odin L. Lloyd in an industrial park near the football player’s million dollar North Attleborough home in 2013.

            The arc of his life was short, and steep. He reached the highest levels of fortune and acclaim in professional sports, only to throw it all away by shooting Lloyd, who had been his friend.

            Hernandez apparently took his own life on the day many of his former teammates will be honored at the White House for winning Super Bowl 51.

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            The former All-Pro tight end, a one-time rising National Football League star with a $40 million contract, was hanging from a bedsheet attached to bars on the window of the cell in Unit G-2 when corrections officers found him around 3:05 a.m., the state Department of Correction said in a statement. The agency said Hernandez had tried to block the door to prevent officers from entering.

            Hernandez was rushed to UMass Leominster. He was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m., the DOC said. The state medical examiner’s office has since taken custody of his body, the DOC said. An investigation will be overseen by Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office.

            The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy at its Boston facility, according to Early’s office.

            DOC spokesman Christopher Fallon said there was no suicide note found during the initial search of the two-man cell to which Hernandez was assigned alone. He was not on a suicide watch because he had not signaled he was at risk, Fallon said.

            “If he had made any kind of statement, he would have not been in that unit,’’ Fallon said.

            Hernandez is the 27th recorded suicide at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center since 2010 and the second this year, according to DOC records.

            Corrections officers conduct nighttime bed checks once per hour, Fallon said. The checks are not done at fixed times, but on a staggered schedule to increase the chance of discovering an inmate with an issue, he said.

            Speaking in general, Fallon said inmates most often use paper to jam cell doors when attempting to prevent a corrections officers from entering.

            Souza Superintendent Steven Silva personally notified Hernandez’s relatives about the former professional athlete’s death, he said.

            A football prodigy from Connecticut who lost his father when he was 16 years old, Hernandez starred at the University of Florida before being drafted by the Patriots in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. He quickly established himself in the upper tier of tight ends in the NFL.

            A Suffolk Superior Court jury acquitted Hernandez April 14 of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in July 2012. The men were killed in a drive-by shooting in the South End.

            Hernandez’s death brought no happiness to the families of the two men he was acquitted of murdering.

            The families of Furtado and de Abreu on Wednesday were still processing their own grief over last week’s verdict and the loss of their loved ones, said William Kennedy, the attorney for Furtado’s estate who is in touch with both families.

            “The family has their own loss to concentrate on, the loss of these two young fellows,” said Kennedy. “I don’t think they take any joy in the loss of the Hernandez family. . . . That’s the way they are. They keep God in their hearts at all times.”

            Throughout his recent trial, Hernandez appeared alert and engaged. He would smile or wave when he met eyes with Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, his longtime fiancee and the mother of his daughter. Jenkins-Hernandez sat in the courtroom gallery.

            The jury deliberated for six days. Hernandez nodded and choked back tears when the verdict came down — not guilty on every charge except a gun-related crime.

            A person with direct knowledge who spoke on condition of anonymity said that while many observers of Hernandez’s recent trial remarked on his stoic demeanor, within prison walls he was insecure and clung to gang members for approval.

            He was not aloof with other inmates, this person said. Instead, he appeared eager to be “one of the boys.” He was always sitting and laughing or playing basketball with gang members.

            Hernandez was on suicide watch immediately after he was convicted in 2015 of killing Lloyd, the person said.

            Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, was a semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits. He was shot multiple times by a .45-caliber weapon in a secluded sand pit near Hernandez’s home in June 2013. After the killing, suspicion quickly built around Hernandez. News crews staked out his house.

            Nine intense days after Lloyd was found dead, the NFL star was arrested for murder. The Patriots cut him from the team within 90 minutes of his arrest, and swiftly scrubbed his name from the team website.

            Hernandez’s sports agent on Wednesday questioned the report that he had killed himself.

            “Absolutely no chance he took his own life,” Brian Murphy, the agent, wrote on Twitter, using a nickname to refer to his client. “Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.”

            Hernandez was represented at his most recent trial by top defense lawyers, including Jose Baez and Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard Law School professor. They could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday.

            Both lawyers have said, however, that they believed the acquittal meant that Hernandez was moving one more step towards being reunited with his family — the sole barrier being his conviction for murdering Lloyd, which was to be automatically reviewed by the state’s highest court.

            Baez on Tuesday tweeted a link to a long ESPN story in which he expressed confidence that he would successfully overturn Hernandez’s Bristol County Superior Court conviction.

            “I think there are plenty of flaws in that conviction,” he told ESPN. “If they are exposed properly, [Hernandez] certainly can and should get a new trial.” Baez described his client as “one step closer to being reunited with his family.”

            After the verdict last week, Hernandez turned in court toward Jenkins-Hernandez, and said, “I love you.”
            If you read only one thing this month, read this on how the NFL is covered today and how it should be covered locally:



            • His former agent...

              Brian Murphy‏ @A1Murph
              Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.
              If you read only one thing this month, read this on how the NFL is covered today and how it should be covered locally:



              • Aaron Hernandez’s Suicide: The Questions We’re Left Asking

                What happened overnight in a jail cell in Shirley, Mass., can’t easily be characterized as a tragedy. A convicted killer taking his own life won’t elicit much sympathy from the public, and quite honestly it shouldn’t. Maybe Aaron Hernandez’s death brings some measure of peace to the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were denied that peace when Hernandez was acquitted last week on charges of double murder. Maybe Hernandez’s death brings closure to the family of Odin Lloyd.

                And there are people close to Hernandez—most notably his four-year-old daughter—who did nothing to deserve to go through all this.

                As for Hernandez himself, I think back to a February night in 2013 when I had dinner with him at a steakhouse in Indianapolis during the combine. I think about the truth of why he was there to talk to his then-coach, Bill Belichick, and about the way we treat athletes in this country.

                And I think of the question, living in Massachusetts, that I get most regarding Aaron Hernandez: How much did the Patriots know?

                It’s a question I can’t answer with a ton of certainty.

                The Patriots’ then-star tight end was in Indy in February 2013 to tell Belichick he was going to spend the bulk of the coming months rehabbing his shoulder in California, rather than Massachusetts. Hernandez told me he was doing so to be closer to Tom Brady, who was spending the offseason in Los Angeles. It was only after Lloyd’s murder four months later that I found out that was far from the whole story.

                I later discovered what Hernandez’s lawyer, Ronald Sullivan, detailed on WEEI radio in Boston earlier this week. Hernandez told Belichick that day in Indy that, at the very least, he needed to stay away from Foxboro because the heat was on back home in Connecticut. Hernandez broached the idea of a trade to get him out of the area. Belichick told Hernandez he couldn’t trade him but offered to help with security measures.

                This is the way it’s always been with Hernandez.

                The story goes that when he was a kid, his dad, Dennis, did all he could to shield his two sons from some of his unscrupulous friends in Bristol, Conn. When Dennis died suddenly after hernia surgery in 2006, D.J., the older brother, was already on his way to UConn on a football scholarship. But Aaron was still in high school, and those people from whom Dennis had tried to protect his kids gravitated toward the budding star athlete.

                At Florida, Hernandez’s coaches knew what lurked back in his hometown and tried to keep him in Gainesville during breaks in the school calendar. They’d get nervous during weekends of home games when the element they’d feared would turn up. In 2007 Hernandez was involved in a violent altercation at a campus bar and was connected to a shooting in Gainesville, both incidents that were later part of his murder investigation.

                After the 2010 draft I’d reported for the Boston Globe that one reason Hernandez fell to the fourth round was a string of failed drug tests. I included Hernandez’s side of the story, which was that only one failed test was on the books. The Patriots later put out a statement on Hernandez’s behalf reinforcing the latter assertion, though it was a known twisting of facts and the drug tests were only a fraction of the story.

                As I understand it, Florida coach Urban Meyer’s advice to Belichick in 2010 went like this: You have to stay on top of him, because of the people who have been around him. Hernandez’s brother was coaching in Connecticut at the time and was hired at Brown in early 2011. That helped, so much so that Belichick later helped D.J. get a job with his old assistant Kirk Ferentz at Iowa.

                Few knew that Aaron Hernandez’s life was in chaos again. I doubt Belichick did, and the Kraft family certainly didn’t, or they wouldn’t have signed off on the five-year, $40 million extension the team gave Hernandez six weeks after de Abreu and Furtado were killed and 10 months before Lloyd’s murder. Hernandez was convicted in the latter case, exonerated in the former, but was clearly on the scene for each of the slayings.

                How did so many people miss everything that was happening? To be sure, it’s far too simplistic to say that the talent blinded everyone.

                Both at Florida and in Foxboro, Hernandez had one of the defining qualities of a sociopath. As one coach of his whom I know well described him, “He’s the most talented liar I’ve ever been around.” As such, he could move as smoothly with guys in the financial district in Boston as he could with the people on the street in his hometown, something that facilitated the double life he was able to lead.

                He was very much a chameleon.

                But his remarkable gifts played a role, too. At every level of football, and in any big-money sport, athletic ability fuels second chances, and Hernandez’s unique talent—at one point he was seen as more integral to the New England offense than Rob Gronkowski—afforded him so many of those. Beyond that, it made those who coached and employed him want to believe he was finally turning his life around.

                So the Florida coaches shielded him and tried to shelter him. So the Patriots coaches attempted to give him the right environment and hoped he could grow through it. So, time and again, his problems were managed, rather than truly confronted.

                So a bad man ran wild living a double life.

                And this is where I admit I fell for it, too.

                * * *

                I was there the night in Foxboro in August 2012 when Hernandez’s voice trembled as he talked about the chance the Krafts had taken on him with his contract extension. In the wake of his new deal, he’d written a $50,000 check to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund, and Robert Kraft responded by saying, “I just think he’s a super player and a first-class guy.”

                It wasn’t as if I was friends with Hernandez, but I felt comfortable enough with him after that season to have my fiancée (now wife) meet him at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans and then again a month later at golf tournament. To everyone, this was a great story of redemption, and a man who’d moved past his problems.

                I had no idea who de Abreu or Furtado were, though their murders had happened just a few blocks from the apartment we were living in Boston’s Back Bay. Nor had I ever heard of Alexander Bradley, shot in the eye (allegedly by Hernandez) in the weeks between that Super Bowl and the golf tournament where we met Hernandez.

                Naturally, now, you retrace all of those experiences and look for signs. On Wednesday morning, after news broke of Hernandez’s suicide, I texted someone who knew Hernandez well and asked if he was surprised. He answered, “Not one bit,” saying that because of Hernandez’s personality, he “wasn’t going to sit in jail the whole time.”

                But plenty of other people, myself included, were surprised. A few months after that night in Indy, I thought back to how Hernandez had his hood pulled over his head during dinner at Mo’s Steakhouse, and kept looking around. At the time I figured he was just a little distracted. Remember, I bought the story that he’d turned his life around, bought it hook, line and sinker.

                Little did I, or most of us, know what was really going on.
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                • Aaron Hernandez leaves us with one final 'Why?'

                  Ian O'Connor/ESPN Senior Writer
                  The text message came in early, around 6:30 a.m. ET, and upon hearing the news that Aaron Hernandez had apparently hanged himself in his prison cell, I immediately thought of his 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. She was right there in Courtroom 906 while her dad was being tried for the murder of two men, a case that would end late last week in his acquittal.

                  I thought about those two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, and the family members who deserve justice and who sat through an excruciating ordeal for weeks, listening to detailed testimony about the bloody and senseless deaths of their loved ones.

                  I thought of the family of Odin Lloyd, the semi-pro linebacker who in 2013 was found dead in a gravel pit about a mile from Hernandez's North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home. Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, showed remarkable courage and grace after the former New England Patriots' tight end was found guilty of executing her son.

                  "I forgive the hands of the people that had a hand in my son's murder, either before or after," Ward said after the verdict came down. "And I pray and hope that someday everyone out there will forgive them also."

                  I also thought of D.J. Hernandez, Aaron's older brother and a football coach at a Connecticut high school. When Aaron was 16, he was broken in half by the death of his father, Dennis, a legendary schoolboy athlete in Bristol, Connecticut, who died of complications from hernia surgery. By all accounts, despite the tragedy, D.J. has lived the productive life that eluded his kid brother.

                  But as much as anything, I thought of the surreal scenes that had played out inside Boston's Suffolk Superior Court.

                  Aaron Hernandez joked regularly with the attorneys there to defend him, and interacted easily with the corrections and court officers there to guard him. He tried to make an eye-contact connection with the seven women and five men there to judge him, too. He mouthed words of love and support to his fiancée, and he blew a kiss to Avielle. I watched him closely for a couple of days inside the courtroom, and on and off throughout the trial on live-stream video. I kept trying to picture him pumping bullets into his dying friend Lloyd, and it was a very hard place to get to.

                  The same holds true of the image of Hernandez tying a bed sheet to his window inside the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, early Wednesday morning and hanging himself. He'd just been found not guilty of the 2012 murders of de Abreu and Furtado, and he'd been told by his lead attorney, Jose Baez, that there was a chance to overturn the Lloyd conviction on appeal.

                  The former tight end nodded and wept after the jury foreperson read the verdicts of not guilty, and suddenly a man serving a life sentence behind bars had something new to live for. "I think there are plenty of flaws in that [Lloyd] conviction," Baez had told "If they are exposed properly, [Hernandez] certainly can and should get a new trial."

                  The prospect of a new trial, Baez said, brought into play what had been an unfathomable scenario -- his client someday walking out of prison a free man. Aaron Hernandez, the attorney said, was "one step closer to being reunited with his family."

                  And now he's dead.

                  Aaron Hernandez died after hanging himself in his cell Wednesday morning, Massachusetts prisons officials said. Josh Reynolds/The Boston Globe via AP
                  "The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron's death," Baez said in a statement released Wednesday 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."

                  Baez called on authorities to conduct a transparent investigation, and he said his law firm would conduct one of its own.

                  The news of Hernandez's death hit as hard as the news of his arrest in 2013. He caused a lot of trouble at the University of Florida, through drug use and reckless behavior, causing him to plunge to the 113th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Over time, the Patriots franchise grew increasingly concerned about the hometown criminals Hernandez was associating with; the tight end reportedly told coach Bill Belichick at the 2013 draft combine that he feared for his life.

                  Four months later, the cops showed up at Hernandez's mansion and cuffed the tight end behind his back, charging him with Lloyd's murder.

                  Five days after Baez said there was a chance of overturning that conviction, the same day the champion Patriots would be honored at the White House, Hernandez was found unresponsive in his prison cell. He was taken to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster and pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. He died with a tattoo on his hand that read "CBS/WBS/IWBTG," which was said to represent the words "can't be stopped, won't be stopped, I will be the greatest."

                  Suicide is too complex to fit neatly inside a small box, and Hernandez leaves behind so many questions and so few answers. Why now? Why would he kill himself after winning an acquittal in the double homicide? Was he heartbroken over the fact he still couldn't be the day-to-day father his daughter needed him to be?

                  This much is clear: In his final days, even as a convicted murderer, Aaron Hernandez didn't come across as haunted. He actually looked like a guy who had a little something to live for.
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                  • Aaron Hernandez: A Waste in Every Sense

                    Spare no sympathy for Aaron Hernandez, who was blessed with rare ability and promise but left a swath of ruined lives, from his victims and their families to his now-fatherless daughter—and of course, himself

                    Peter King/MMQB
                    There will be more facts to emerge in the coming days about the death of the convicted murderer and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was found in his Massachusetts prison cell on Wednesday morning, an apparent suicide. But whatever the rest of the story is, this is what we know now: Hernandez wasted his life, destroying what could have been a consistent Pro Bowl career, with an all-time great quarterback targeting him endlessly. He wasted it, period. Don’t make any excuses for him. It’s on him. At the same time, he was responsible for the death of a 27-year-old acquaintance, Odin Lloyd, who was found with 10 bullets pumped into him in an industrial park. Hernandez was charged but found not guilty last week in the deaths of two other men in a drive-by shooting. Another man accused Hernandez of shooting him in the eye so that he wouldn’t testify in the drive-by case.

                    So senseless, all of it. Hernandez, with a decade of football greatness ahead of him four years ago, dead. Three others dead, at least one of whom he killed. Another with only one working eye.

                    Ursula Ward, mother of Odin Lloyd. Photo: Stew Milne/AP

                    Five men, with families. Hernandez, with a fiancée, and now with a 4-year-old daughter who will never know him. Lloyd, with a family still grieving. Two other men, Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, whose murder cases will now apparently grow cold, with families who left a courtroom last week thinking, Where is the justice for us? And the one-eyed Alexander Bradley. This is a case of a wasted life wasting other lives. That’s why I feel no sympathy for the cold-hearted Hernandez.

                    I never knew Hernandez, but I do wonder one thing about him: Was the life off the field he chose so inescapable, or in some ways desirable, that you would ruin what you had five years ago, the promise of a long and lucrative career?

                    Maria Teixeira, mother of murder victim Safiro Furtado. Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

                    Five years ago, Hernandez was on his way to making a fortune, and being one of the best players in the NFL.

                    It seems so long ago—longer than five years. But that’s how recent it was that Hernandez was an essential contributor to a Super Bowl team. Truly: Ask Tom Brady in the postseason five years ago, the year the Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, who was the more valuable tight end—Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski. Close call. He actually might have said Hernandez.

                    Ernesto Abreu, father of murder victim Daniel de Abreu, and family. Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

                    Check out the numbers of both tight ends in the 2011 postseason, which ended in the 21-17 Super Bowl loss in February 2012: Gronkowski, targeted 23 times in three games by Brady, catching 17 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns … Hernandez, targeted 31 times in three games, catching 19 balls for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Also, remember the playoff game against Tim Tebow and Denver that season? Hernandez added five carries out of the backfield for 61 yards. I covered that game, and I recall Hernandez being the big story for the Patriots that night in Foxboro. He caught a touchdown pass and was Bill Belichick’s biggest weapon out of the backfield.

                    We’ll never know the rest of the football story, because Hernandez chose another path in life. The only benefit? It’s a pitiable consolation prize, but at least the NFL can add a somber program to its annual rookie symposium. I’d entitle it: Don’t Grow Up To Be Aaron Hernandez.
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                    • Originally posted by H2O4me View Post
                      His former agent...

                      Brian Murphy‏ @A1Murph
                      Says everyone who ever knew someone that killed themself
                      ColtsStrong Parade


                      • Report: Former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez Had John 3:16 On His Forehead

                        According to WBZ in Boston, Hernandez had the bible verse John 3:16 written on his forehead, when Officers found him unresponsive.
                        #Sources in #AaronHernandez death Invest say #bible verse John 3:16 was written on former #Patriots head #WBZ

                        — Cheryl Fiandaca (@CherylFiandaca) April 19, 2017
                        #Sources #AaronHernandez John 3:16 his only begotten Son, whosoever .. believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. #WBZ

                        — Cheryl Fiandaca (@CherylFiandaca) April 19, 2017
                        They also are saying that the investigative staff are investigating if he smoked synthetic marijuana last night.
                        #Sources #AaronHernandez investigators former #patriot may have smoked K2 synthetic marijuana last night #WBZ

                        — Cheryl Fiandaca (@CherylFiandaca) April 19, 2017
                        The report also says Hernandez appeared to have red marker on his hands and feet.

                        John 3:16 reads: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

                        I-Team: Hernandez Had Bible Verse On Forehead, May Have Smoked Synthetic Marijuana Before Death

                        BOSTON (CBS) – The WBZ I-Team has learned Aaron Hernandez had the words “John 3:16” on his forehead when he was found dead in his prison cell early Wednesday morning.

                        The bible verse is one of the most quoted in Christianity and says in part that whoever believes in Jesus “shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

                        He also appeared to have red marks on his hands and feet.

                        Prison officials say “Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window” in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center.

                        Law enforcement sources tell WBZ investigators are looking into the possibility that the former New England Patriot may have smoked synthetic marijuana called K2 Tuesday night.

                        Sources say investigators believe one of the last people to see Hernandez is a close friend who is now in isolation on what is called “eyeball suicide watch.”

                        The 22-year-old is in the health service unit with a 24-hour watch with a correction officer and camera watching his every move.

                        Five days ago, Hernandez was acquitted of murder charges in the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the South End in July 2012. He was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.
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                        • Aaron Hernandez found with 'John 3:16' written in ink on forehead, report says

                          BOSTON -- Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez wrote a reference to a biblical passage in ink on his forehead and in blood on the wall of his prison cell before he hanged himself with a bed sheet, state police said in an investigative report released Thursday.

                          The former New England Patriots tight end was found naked April 19 at the Souza-Baranowski prison, where he was serving a life sentence in the 2013 murder of a man who had been dating his fiancee's sister. His suicide came five days after he was acquitted in the 2012 gun slayings of two men in a car.

                          A report released by state police on Thursday says "John 3:16" was written on Hernandez's forehead and on the cell wall.

                          The Bible passage 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 report, from a state police detective assigned to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.'s office, said a correction officer found Hernandez around 3 a.m.

                          Correction officers found that cardboard had been shoved into the tracks of Hernandez's cell door to prevent the door from opening. Hernandez also had put shampoo on the floor to make it slippery, the report states.

                          Once the correction officers got inside the cell, they found Hernandez hanging from a bed sheet tied around the window bars. The officers and medical staff performed CPR, but Hernandez never regained consciousness. He later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

                          State police said Hernandez's right middle finger had a fresh cut and there was blood on adjacent fingers. Besides the "John 3:16" written on his forehead, there also appeared to be a large circular blood mark on each of his feet.

                          On the wall of the cell were several drawings and "John 3:16" written in what appeared to be blood. Under the drawings was a Bible open to John 3:16, with the verse marked in blood. Three handwritten notes were found next to the bible. A description of the notes was redacted from the state police report.

                          Correction officers told police that Hernandez had been locked in his cell just before 8 p.m. on April 18. One officer said he last saw Hernandez around 1 a.m. on April 19.

                          About two hours later, the officer saw a sheet hanging in front of the door to Hernandez's cell. The officer said he asked Hernandez to remove the sheet or sound off. As the officer poked at the sheet it fell, and he saw Hernandez hanging from the window, according to the report.

                          After that officer and others opened the door, they tried to lift Hernandez to relieve pressure. After Hernandez was cut down, officers began performing chest compressions.

                          State police said a review of video surveillance shows Hernandez was on the phone just before being locked in his cell. Police said they listened to the last five phone calls Hernandez made.

                          "Hernandez does not make any apparent indication of an intent to harm himself during any of the phone calls," the report states.

                          An autopsy performed by the state medical examiner's office determined the cause of Hernandez's death was asphyxia by hanging and the manner of death was suicide. The state police report said toxicology tests showed Hernandez's blood came back negative for all substances tested, including synthetic marijuana.

                          Hernandez's lead attorney in his recent double murder trial, Jose Baez, has pledged to do an independent investigation into his death. The defense team sharply criticized state investigators, saying some leaked information to reporters while failing to keep the Hernandez family informed.

                          "The unprofessional behavior of those entrusted to impartially and professionally conduct an investigation into Aaron's death has caused grave concern as to the validity and thoroughness of the investigation," Hernandez's attorneys said in a statement.

                          Hernandez grew up in Bristol, Connecticut. His suicide left friends, family and his legal team in disbelief as many searched for an explanation to the tragic end of a young man whose football skills earned him a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the NFL's top franchise.
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                          • Aaron Hernandez's suicide letter to fiancee released by court

                            Massachusetts court officials on Friday released an excerpt of the letter that Aaron Hernandez wrote to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, before he killed himself last month.

                            "Shay, you have always been my soul-mate and i want you to live life and know I'm always with you," Hernandez wrote. "I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know you are an angel -- literally! We split into two to come change the world! ... I love you! Let [redacted] know how much I love her! Look after [redacted] and [redacted] for me -- those are my boys. (YOU'RE RICH)"

                            An excerpt of Aaron Hernandez's suicide note to his fiancee was released by Massachusetts court
                            officials Friday. Bristol Superior Court Clerk's office

                            The former New England Patriots tight end was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell on April 19 in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying.

                            Newly released documents related to the investigation into his suicide also showed that Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang.

                            A death report released Friday lists the Bloods under Hernandez's "gang profile" and says Hernandez was once disciplined for having "STG" paraphernalia. In prison, STG stands for "Security Threat Group," a euphemism for gangs.

                            The Bloods is a violent gang that started in California but made its way across the country to the East Coast and claims to have thousands of members.

                            Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. released the report Friday in response to a public records request from The Associated Press.

                            The report says that while Hernandez was housed in a Bristol County jail awaiting trial in the 2013 case, he was disciplined for five violations, including threatening to kill a corrections officer and his family; submitting a urine sample that tested positive for Neurontin, an anti-epileptic drug that is also used as a painkiller; committing an aggravated assault; refusing to obey a direct order; and possessing gang paraphernalia.

                            Friday's report follows a pair of reports Thursday that detailed Hernandez's mindset according to other inmates and revealed that "John 3:16" was written in ink on his forehead and in blood on the wall of his cell when he was found dead.

                            Hernandez's lawyers in his double-murder trial have said he showed no signs he planned to kill himself and have pledged to conduct an independent investigation into the death. The defense team also blasted state officials for leaking information contained in the reports to the media.

                            Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, played three seasons for the Patriots before he was released by the team hours after his arrest in June 2013 in the killing of Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in that case and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
                            Last edited by H2O4me; 05-05-2017, 05:44 PM.
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