Aaron Hernandez (27), the ex-NFL tight end for the New England Patriots, serving a life sentence for murder, committed suicide in his jail cell by hanging himself with bed sheets a few days ago, with John 3:16 written in a marker across his forehead. (John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”)
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was dating a sister of Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée. Just days prior to his suicide Hernandez (who was charged with murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado) was acquitted.
The coroner has ruled Hernandez’ death suicide and no evidence of foul play was found at the scene. Family, friends and the lawyer of Hernandez – in other words, those who knew him well – reject the possibility of him committing suicide.
In an attempt to find an explanation for Aaron’s erratic behavior and his suicide, the Hernandez family made arrangements for his brain to be sent for study at the Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE, is a degenerative disease, often found in the brains of professional athletes who suffered multiple concussions. Traumatic encephalopathy can cause irrational behavior, aggression, confusion, mood swings, and memory loss, among other symptoms.
Regardless of the outcome of the medical inquiry into Hernandez’ brain, the law allows for a dismissal of the conviction of Aaron Hernandez because he has died before exhausting the appeal process which – theoretically, at least – could have found him innocent.
Should this course of action be pursued by the survivors of Hernandez – and according to Hernandez’ lawyer, it will be – a pending civil lawsuit against him – by the family of his victim – could be dismissed for a lack of merit as well: no crime, no financial liability.
Another implication of such a course of action could potentially call for the New England Patriots to pay millions of dollars to Hernandez’ estate.
In view of the Hernandez family’s disbelief that Aaron intended to commit suicide – or would have – and their concern that he may have been mentally impaired at the time of his suicide (as their decision to have his brain examined indicates) a larger question arises: was Aaron Hernandez of sound mind at the time he committed murder?…. Is Hernandez to blame for the murder or – perhaps, just perhaps – the game of football which he played professionally and which caused him numerous concussions is at fault?….
In retrospect, the murder with no motive, Hernandez’ erratic behavior afterward, his reasoning and actions in the second case involving two killings (of which he was recently acquitted), the confession tattooed on his arm (self-incrimination!) and last but not least, the suicide Hernandez’ loved ones can’t believe; all of these don’t quite add up. As much as it is true that many professional athletes have an overinflated ego, Aaron Hernadez’ recent actions weren’t vain but illogical and self-destructive. A degenerative brain disease might provide an explanation.
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich