Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who was found dead in his prison cell last month, belonged to the Bloods street gang and had been disciplined for having gang paraphernalia and other incidents, documents related to the investigation into his suicide show.
Hernandez was disciplined for having “STG” (Security Threat Group) paraphernalia and the Bloods were listed under his gang profile, according to documents obtained Friday by the Associated Press. Hernandez, 27, was discovered hanging from a bedsheet in his cell in the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., early on the morning of April 19. Although his death was ruled a suicide, lawyers for his family have called for an investigation into his death, which came just days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double murder. Hernandez was serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
The report, released by Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. after a public records request by the AP, was one of two to come down last week. In a separate court filing by prosecutors, excerpts from a suicide note Hernandez wrote to his fiancee also were released. The documents Early released indicate that Hernandez was disciplined for five violations while he was held in a Bristol County jail awaiting trial on the 2013 murder charge: threatening to kill a corrections officer and his family; submitting a urine sample that tested positive for a painkiller; committing an aggravated assault; refusing to obey an order; and possessing gang paraphernalia.
A separate report released by the Department of Correction on Thursday showed that Hernandez’s behavior was cited a dozen times for physical altercations with other inmates, possessing a homemade weapon, getting a tattoo and having another inmate in his cell. His punishment included the loss of his phone, gym and yard privileges. According to one report, he was “insolent” toward a correction officer and used a racial epithet after he was cited for tampering with a lock. “This place ain’t [expletive] to me. I’ll run this place and keep running [expletive]. Prison ain’t [expletive] to me,” he said, according to the report.
The DOC report and another released by the state police show no signs that Hernandez was suicidal. If anything, he was upbeat after his acquittal and was thinking that perhaps his 2013 conviction could be overturned, allowing him to play football again. According to inmates cited in the DOC report, “he was positive and even happily emotional, which was not usual of Hernandez.”
Another inmate said that “he had been talking about the NFL and going back to play even if it wasn’t with the Pats.”
The state police report confirmed that Hernandez had “John 3:16,” a reference to a Bible verse, in ink on his forehead and in blood on a cell wall. The verse 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.” A Bible was left open to the verse, which was marked with blood.
In a suicide note Hernandez left for his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, he wrote, “You’re rich.” He called her “a true angel” and urged her to “tell my story fully, but never think anything besides how much I love you.” The contents of two other notes were not revealed. “You have always been my soul-mate,” Hernandez wrote to Jenkins-Hernandez, the mother of his 4-year-old daughter, “and I want you to live life and know I’m always with you.”
Since his death, there has been speculation that Hernandez was trying to provide for his family, with his death taking advantage of a Massachusetts legal precedent in which a conviction can be voided if he or she dies before exhausting the appeals process. If that were the case, lawyers for the Hernandez family could claim that the Patriots would have no grounds to continue withholding potentially millions of dollars from his estate.