A Massachusetts judge ordered that authorities release the contents of former New England Patriots’ star Aaron Hernandez’s three suicide notes to his family members, including fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, The Associated Press reported.
The judge granted the request filed on Jenkins-Hernandez’s behalf despite an ongoing investigation into the circumstances of his death. Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office had purportedly refused to allow the Hernandez family to view the suicide notes because of the investigation. Early’s team will be allowed to redact key information to protect the case’s integrity.
Hernandez left three suicide notes in his jail cell next to a copy of the Bible, according to the AP. The 27-year-old, who was serving a life sentence at a Massachusetts correctional facility for the murder of former friend Odin Lloyd, was found hanging in his cell on April 19 with Bible verses scrawled on his body. But was it really a suicide? I have my doubts. There are rumors that it was a gang killing. But Hernandez was big and strong so I believe it would take several gang members to subdue him.
In a surprising twist, Aaron Hernandez’s apparent suicide this week could protect his estate and remaining financial assets from civil lawsuits — including the one filed by the family of his murder victim, Odin Lloyd — according to legal experts.
At the time of his death, Hernandez’s legal team was appealing his 2015 conviction for Lloyd’s murder. The former New England Patriots’ star was serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. With the appeal left unresolved, the ruling against Hernandez will likely be vacated due to a legal tenet called “abatement ab initio,” or “from the beginning.” Now he is beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
Under Massachusetts law, the death of a defendant prior to the conclusion of his appeal renders the initial ruling void, according to Michael McCann, a Sports Illustrated legal expert and law professor at the University of New Hampshire. The lack of a guilty verdict on Hernandez’s record would complicate any attempt to secure a financial payout from his estate in civil court. This could protect his family for a huge financial judgment that would probably take the bulk if not all of his estate.
Did He Do This
To Help His Family?
His attorneys have requested that the Patriots pay his estate the remainder of his signing bonus. I doubt they will, without a court order. But I’m sure there is some conduct clause about Going to Prison for years and being unavailable to play that most likely will give the Patriots a reason to not pay him anything else.
“Hernandez’s suicide doesn’t end the possibility of civil liability, but it may make it harder to obtain,” an attorney for a prison friend of Aaron Hernandez said, raising fresh questions Wednesday about the life of the former NFL player, whose death in a Massachusetts prison has done nothing to bring closure to the mysteries surrounding him.
Among the claims by Larry Army Jr., an attorney for prison inmate Kyle Kennedy: Hernandez and Kennedy knew each other before Kennedy’s 2015 incarceration; one of the suicide notes Hernandez left was meant for Kennedy; the two had asked to share a cell; and, weeks before his death, Hernandez had hinted at suicide in a letter to Kennedy that the latter interpreted as a joke.
Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence without parole for murder, died in his prison cell April 19, 2017 in what was ruled a suicide. Although officials at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., initially said that Hernandez, who was found hanging by a bed sheet early that morning, left no note, reports and now a lawyer for another inmate indicate that he left one for his fiancée, one for his 4-year-old daughter and one for Kennedy, 22. Officials have confirmed the existence of the third letter, but its contents are in question and a Hernandez lawyer said no note exists. Kennedy’s name does not appear in the writings delivered to the family in accordance with a judge’s ruling Monday, The Boston Globe reported.
However, Army said his client believes that a letter was written to him and that it may have referred to Kennedy by his prison nickname, “Pure.” “This is coming from his own knowledge of the relationship that he and Aaron had shared, and this comes from somebody inside the jail… who indicated to him that one of the letters was to him,” Army said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Worcester, Mass. (via the Boston Herald)
According to Army, the two men knew each other “through correspondence” before Kennedy’s incarceration and were so close that Hernandez wrote letters to Kennedy’s family. Army refused to answer specific questions about their relationship, but said that Hernandez once wrote Kennedy’s family to say that Kennedy “is my brother and always will be.” Army said that his client would at some point speak for himself. “He wants the words about this relationship to come from his mouth,” Army said.
Although some reports say that Kennedy was the last to see Hernandez alive, Army said he had been removed from the prison population for violating jail rules the day before Hernandez died. Kennedy was stunned by news of Hernandez’s death, Army said, because he had recently written “I am going to hang it up LOL” in a note to Kennedy, which Kennedy had interpreted as a joke. “I miss my friend,” Kennedy said in a statement Army read. “I’d like to send my condolences to his fiancée, his mother and his daughter. I would ask the media to respect the privacy of my family. This is a private matter that doesn’t concern them.”
Will his Prior Murder Case Be Dismissed
(Lawyers ask that [the] Hernandez conviction be overturned) Last September, the two had asked to be assigned to the same cell, but prison officials turned down the request because they try to match cellmates by size and race, according to Army, and the two men were not a match. Still, the two were close and Army believes Kennedy was the last to see Hernandez alive. The former NFL player spoke with his fiancée on the evening before he died, but details of their conversation have not been disclosed. That night, Kennedy was taken from the general population for what Army said was a “jailhouse violation.”
Jose Baez, a lawyer for Hernandez, denied Army’s claims. “We don’t have the time to stop our efforts and respond to every felon that has something to say about Aaron Hernandez,” he told TMZ, which reported that the third note was to Baez. “Quite frankly I’m surprised more inmates have not come forward to make money off the media.”
The Souza-Baranowski prison has been on lock down since Monday while “a general search for contraband is underway for the next few days,” Department of Corrections spokesman Christopher Fallon told the Herald. The medical examiner’s office denied to TMZ a Newsweek report that traces of K2, a synthetic marijuana, had been found in Hernandez’s system. (Since there are rumors of a gay relationship. I’m surprised that they didn’t find K-Y!)
Does this Make Sense?
Kennedy is on suicide watch at the prison, Army said. He was arrested in January 2015 after a high-speed chase and charged with driving offenses and armed robbery of a gas station after a knife was discovered in his car. He is expected to be released next February.
Baez has called for an investigation into Hernandez’s death, which came less than a week after his acquittal on a double-murder charge. You would think he would be ecstatic. He was acquitted of a double murder. But that didn’t vacate his previous murder conviction. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Did he commit suicide for this express purpose of helping his family financially? We will never know.
The family has begun legal proceedings to void Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction in Bristol County, initiating a process made possible by his death while his case was still under appeal and during the hearing Monday. Baez said that rumors about Hernandez’s sexual orientation have shaken his family. The Bristol County district attorney’s office has said it will challenge the request, which requires the approval of a Superior Court judge. Things just get curiouser and curiouser.
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