New information emerged concerning the suicide of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez after the revelation that he had been placed on suicide watch in 2015.
Shortly after Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, he was reportedly transported to a maximum-security correctional institution in Massachusetts, where he was kept separate from the rest of the inmate population for evaluation and protection, according to TMZ.
Hernandez was placed on suicide watch at the prison, which reportedly is not uncommon for inmates who have just received a life sentence. The former professional athlete was later transferred to a different prison, where he wrote letters to fans that suggested he had maintained a positive mental state.
On April 19, 2017, however, Hernandez was found hanged with a bed sheet in his prison cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, CNN reports.
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"Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez, and he was transported to Mass Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.," a representative from the Massachusetts Department of Correction said in a statement.
Hernandez had reportedly "attempted to block his door with various items," according to the statement.
"The family and legal team is shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron's death," said Hernandez's attorney, Jose Baez. "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," said Baez. "Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death."
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The alleged suicide of the former tight end for the New England Patriots occurred just days after he had been acquitted in a separate double murder trial, in which he faced charges from 2014 for the 2012 drive-by shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu outside a night club in Boston.
Hernandez had been found not guilty of those murders on April 14, although he was found guilty for illegal possession of a firearm.
"You could tell that he was relieved, as well," said Ronald Sullivan Jr., Hernandez's attorney. "He was charged for something somebody else did, and that is a weighty burden for anyone to shoulder."
After his client's acquittal in the double murder case, Baez said that he hoped he could get the ruling in the Lloyd murder case overturned, as well.
"Knowing what I know about Aaron, and knowing Aaron, there's a good chance that perhaps we can get that reversed," said Baez.
The New England Patriots organization said that they were aware of Hernandez's death, but declined to comment further.