The case concerning former NFL star Aaron Hernandez can definitely be considered confusing for those who aren’t really paying attention — or for those who are even just trying to follow along. The bad boy ex-New England Patriots player started making headlines after he was accused of killing his friend, Odin Lloyd, in the summer of 2013. If that wasn’t enough, that seemed to only be the beginning of Hernandez’s very disturbing level of criminal activity, at least when considering what he was accused of: murdering his friend, killing two people in a driveway in Boston, threatening and shooting the person who possibly saw the Boston shooting, and coercing his loved ones to back up his story, which many of them faced charges for doing (including one who was diagnosed with cancer).
Still, even though this is most likely a Lifetime movie in the making (don’t be surprised if you see trailers for the Aaron Hernandez Story later this year), it’s important to remember that beyond the headlines these are real people who are left to deal with the fallout of Hernandez’s decisions. One of those being his suicide. He was discovered hanged and dead in his jail cell in Boston. While this was a shock to many, it looks like he did it to protect his family and possibly even his own name — instead of serving the life sentence he was handed. So take a look at 15 chilling details about Aaron Hernandez’s gruesome and most shocking crimes. They’re actually pretty crazy.
15 That Fateful Night
The fateful night that put Hernandez’s criminal status in the spotlight was when he was spotted leaving a nightclub with his friends, including Olin Lloyd. The other two were Carlos Ortiz and Earnest Wallace. Hours after, Lloyd was found dead. But why? Apparently Hernandez thought Lloyd had information on another shooting that Hernandez was linked to that took place in Boston. It’s still unclear but either way, it might be safe to say Lloyd said or did something that got Hernandez’s attention— and not in a good way. Both of the friends, Ortiz and Wallace, faced their own convictions with possible connections to the murder. Ortiz pleaded not guilty to the charge of carrying a firearm without a license. As for Ernest, he turned himself in just days after an arrest warrant was issued. He also pleaded not guilty to the accessory after the fact of murder charge. He was convicted and sentenced to 4 to 7 years behind bars.
14 Bubble Gum And Guns
Bubble gum and guns played a major part in the case against Hernandez. Lloyd and Hernandez, along with the two other friends, left a Boston night club, Rumor, together, and stopped at a gas station and purchased a pack of bubble gum. Lloyd also sent a text to his sister that read, “NFL. Just so you know,” around 3:23 which is said to be only minutes before he was killed. At 3:25, gunshots were heard. Before 3:30 even hit, Hernandez was seen on a surveillance camera holding a gun and going into his home with two others. Interestingly enough, the bubble gum came back into play when Hernandez went to drop off the rental car he had the night before. He offered a worker at the rental place a piece of gum. In the car, there was a piece of chewed gun next to the casing for a .45-caliber, which was a match with the gun that shot Lloyd.
13 A Family Affair?
Tanya Singleton’s, Hernandez’s cousin, pleaded guilty to the charges she faced. It was public knowledge that Ortiz and Wallace stayed at her home the night Lloyd died. She pleaded guilty to contempt after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury. Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh pretty much ripped Singleton a new one. She said she would have put her behind bars if Singleton didn’t have cancer. Instead, she was sentenced to two years of probation and home confinement. Word is Hernandez paid Singleton not to testify. But Singleton’s legal team said she was only being loyal to her family. Garsh said in a statement,” Miss Singleton’s willful conduct constitutes an assault on the rule of law and the effective administration of criminal justice. Miss Singleton’s health is the only reason she is not being placed in jail.” Interestingly enough, Singleton’s husband, Thaddeus Singleton III, passed away during all of this and his girlfriend, Tabitha Perry, was found dead as well.
12 The Love Factor
Shayanna hasn't necessarily had a clean slate during all of this either. Prosecutors accused Shayanna of perjury and said she wanted to protect Hernandez. Her lawyer said Shayanna was cooperating with police and just expressing her rights under the Fifth Amendment. Still, there was speculation that she hid evidence for Hernandez. Apparently Hernandez asked her to find a box in his home and “get rid of” it. Shayanna left with a black trash bag but when she returned, she didn’t have it. And her stories don’t seem to line up as the Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County said, “She told her sister that she was going to the bank, she told her uncle…she was going to the store, she told the grand jurors that she was going to get baby formula.” When the grand jury actually asked her, she said she didn’t know. Shayanna ended up receiving immunity for the accusations.
11 His Ultimate Act
One of the latest updates in the Aaron Hernandez case is his apparent suicide. The disgraced NFL star was found hanging in his jail cell last month in an incident that authorities have ruled as a suicide. The date was April 19 of this year and he was found at 3:05 in the morning. He was pronounced dead just an hour later according to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The 27-year-old is said to have tied a bed sheet to his window in order to end his life. He was serving a life sentence without the option of parole at the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The facility released a statement that says, “Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez, and he was transported to Mass Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.” The statement also revealed Hernandez, “attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”
10 His Final Message
A note that Hernandez left for his fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, was released just weeks after his death. It appears his move that was shocking to fans was not as surprising to him and possibly Shayanna. The letter reads, “Shay, You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to live life. And know I’m always with you. 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! Your characteristic is that of a true angel and the definition of God’s love. Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you. This was the supremes, the almighty’s plan, not mine! Love you! Let (redacted) know how much I love her! Look after (redacted) and (redacted) for me. These are my boys (YOU’RE RICH)…I KNEW I LOVED YOU= SAVAGE GARDEN”
9 Abatement Ab Initio
The argument is that Hernandez took his own life in hopes of making sure his daughter and his future wife were taken care of. And that’s definitely a fair argument. Because under Massachusetts law, considering Hernandez died while appealing his 2015 conviction for the murder of Lloyd, it’s as if the original conviction never happened. Considering this, Hernandez technically didn’t break his contract with the New England Patriots. Therefore, his daughter is rumored to be the one to inherit the $15 million the team still owed him. The legal term is “abatement ab initio.” Chief Legal Counsel tot he Massachusetts Bar Association, Martin W. Healy, told the Boston Globe, “Although Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of murdering Olin L. Lloyd of Boston, Hernandez’s appeal was not complete. Abatement ab initio means ‘from the beginning,’" Healy said, "and it means that upon a person’s death, if they have not exhausted their legal appeals, their case reverts to its status at the beginning— it’s as if the trial and conviction never happened.”
8 The Judge's Decision
If true, this definitely worked because a judge has pretty much erased Hernandez’s conviction. But it might not be over because the Bristol County district attorney wants to fight the judge’s decision. Lloyd’s mother actually spoke about the ruling and said, “I know everyone is looking for me to be angry, but I’m not. I know God is fighting this battle for me. He also said be still, and know that I am God. And I am obeying him.” She added that she knows Hernandez is still behind the untimely death of her son, despite what the judge says. “In our book, he’s guilty, and he’s going to always be guilty. But I know one day, I’m going to see my son. And that’s the victory that I have that I’m going to take with me.” Prosecutors also pretty much said it’s unfair that Hernandez had “the reins of the entire justice system in his hands” when he killed himself to “cut off his own criminal appeal…”
7 The Double-Homicide Mystery
The death of Lloyd was not the only thing Hernandez was accused of. He was also linked to a double homicide in Boston — it’s the one that Lloyd was reportedly aware of that could have led to Hernandez shooting him. Hernandez’s possible involvement in the Boston murders came to light in January of 2014. Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were killed by gunfire. A different passenger was hurt while two left the scene uninjured. Hernandez was indicted for the 2012 murders. He faced two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed assault with attempt to murder, and one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. Word is there was an alteration between Hernandez and the two men after Abreu ran into Hernandez and made him spill his drink. Hernandez was found not guilty of murder. He was only found guilty of one charge, illegal possession of a firearm, out of the eight he was hit with.
6 Did He Intimidate A Witness?
Even though Hernandez was found not guilty of the charges, there were reports that he tried to scare someone who could have seen the entire 2012 incident that left Abreu and Furtado dead. The man’s name was Alexander Bradley. Hernandez was indicted for witness intimidation after Bradley was allegedly shot following a comment he made about the murders. Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the charge and settled a lawsuit with Bradley, who said that Hernandez shot him. The details of the agreement the two parties reached were not made public. Bradley is now serving time in jail for an unrelated incident. As for the fatal shooting of the two victims, Bradley said that Hernandez was in the passenger seat when he reached right across Bradley and shot into the two men’s BMW at a stoplight. Hernandez’s legal team accused Bradley of being the shooter. Bradley, who received immunity for his testimony, was also called out for smiling in the courtroom.
5 The Family's Legal Actions
Before Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd’s murder and found not guilty of those of Abreu and Furtado, families for all three victims filed lawsuits against the former NFL star. Lloyd’s family’s wrongful death suit against Hernandez alleged that he, “maliciously, willfully, wantonly, recklessly or by gross negligence,” was the one to blame for Lloyd’s death. The family’s of the Boston shooting also filed a wrongful death lawsuit, requesting $6 million in damages each. Unsealed court documents outlined Hernandez’s possible involvement in the shooting. “There is… probable cause to believe that Aaron Hernandez was operating the suspect vehicle used in the shooting homicides…and may have been the shooter.” Furtado’s father spoke out about his character during a press conference. They said he “was a good boy, a hard worker, very intelligent.” During this lawsuit, a judge froze $5 million of Hernandez’s assets, including the more than $3 million that the Patriots owed Hernandez at the time.
4 Did He Break The Law In Jail?
Hernandez couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble behind bars either. He was in trouble for allegedly being the lookout when one inmate went into another’s cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. He was also caught with a shank in his prison cell and was transported to a different area in the facility. On top of that, Hernandez is said to have used “coded messages” to communicate Lloyd’s murder while he was in jail. He is said to have not only spoken about a car that was detailed in the case, but he also talked about others who were facing charges and the “extent of his control” that he had over them. Prosecutors hoped to find out if Hernandez acted alone or if he was a “joint venturer.” There was a notion that if Hernandez didn’t pull the trigger himself in the Lloyd murder, that he “orchestrated it” in the park about a mile from Hernandez’s home. He was cited for 78 disciplinary offenses while behind bars.
3 Jurors Dismissed
Two jurors were dismissed from the case of Lloyd’s murder as well. Garsh, who was the presiding judge, said that it wasn’t because of anything related to the case. In fact, she was said to have told the remaining jurors, “That was for reasons that were entirely personal to that juror. It has nothing to do with this case.” It’s not clear why the jurors did not want to be a part of the case, but it is pretty interesting. Still, the first juror who was dismissed was speculated to have been speaking in very much detail about what was going on with the case. The juror reportedly said that they thought it was hard to find Hernandez guilty without a murder weapon. That brought it down to 16 jurors, including 12 who were the deciding factor. Alternates were chosen randomly to fill in for the others during the case.
2 Did He Suffer From A Brain Injury?
Since his very untimely death, Hernandez’s family has sought more answers that could explain his alleged and speculated rage. Just a day after he was found dead in his jail cell, his family revealed to the public they wanted to donate his brain to find out if he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (also known as CTE). This condition was something that many other NFL players suffered from. Hernandez’s brain is said to have been released to the Boston University CTE Center for further examination. They were hit with a small hiccup on the way as they claimed that Hernandez’s brain was being held “illegally” in the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. “They have released the body and withheld Aaron’s brain,” the family attorney Jose Baez said in a statement. He added, “The family of Aaron Hernandez has decided to donate to this study so that we could possibly help other young men who decide to play football, and to help further that cause, and also possibly shed light and more evidence on this case.”
1 Who Is Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez?
For starters, Shayanna legally changed her last name to Hernandez despite never having married the former NFL star. She testified under the name Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez while in court. She also made headlines after she brought their four-year-old daughter to see Aaron’s trial because the child wanted to see her father. There is also a connection between Shayanna and the victim, Lloyd, as Lloyd was dating Shayanna’s sister. Word is Aaron killing Shayanna’s sister’s boyfriend put a really bad strain on their relationship, especially since Shayanna defended Aaron. She did confess that Aaron had asked her to get rid of things a few items — hence the whole issue that police had with her— but she claimed she never looked to see what she was actually throwing away. This wouldn’t be surprising because when she was asked, she could honestly say she had no clue, which also could have led to a lack of evidence to convict Hernandez. She is slated to speak out about his suicide on Dr. Phil May 15 and 16.