Just days after he was acquitted of a 2012 double murder case, former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his cell at a Massachusetts prison early Wednesday morning officials said. He was 27.
Officials told Fox 25 that Hernandez was found hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley around 3:05 a.m. Officers reportedly immediately began trying to save Hernandez's life before he was eventually take to UMass Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.
The troubled star was found hanging from a bed sheet that he attached to the window of his single cell that was in a general population housing, officials said. He had also tried blocking his cell door from the inside by jamming it with several items to prevent it from being opened.
Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said he is not aware of any suicide note left behind by Hernandez and noted that an investigation is underway. Prison officials he said did not get any indication from Hernandez that he planned to kill himself. If there was any concern about his well-being, Fallon said he would have been transferred to a mental health unit.
In 2014, Hernandez was indicted for the double murder of two Boston men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, on July 16, 2012.
They were reportedly ambushed as they sat in a car at a stop light in Boston's South End after a "chance encounter" at a Boston nightclub called Cure.
"Mr. de Abreu and Mr. Furtado were ambushed and executed as they drove home along Shawmut Avenue in Boston's South End in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said at the time.
He charged that Hernandez followed the men in an SUV after the nightclub encounter then pulled up alongside their car and pumped bullets multiple times from a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver from the driver's side into the passenger's side of the target vehicle.
Last Friday, according to ESPN, Hernandez was moved to tears after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was witnessed blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez. He was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating Jenkins-Hernandez's sister.
A person with direct knowledge who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Boston Globe that while many observers of Hernandez's recent trial remarked on his stoic demeanor, he was insecure and clung to gang members for approval within prison walls.
He appeared eager to be "one of the boys," the source said. He was always sitting and laughing or playing basketball with gang members.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012, died the same day the Patriots are expected to visit the White House to mark their Super Bowl win.
"We are aware of the reports, but I don't anticipate that we will be commenting today," a Patriots spokesman told ESPN on Wednesday morning.