Aaron Hernandez was an American footballer famously known for his participation in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the New England Patriots but was released following his arrest for murder charges. He was notable for his outstanding prowess on the pitch and NFL continues to feel the vacuum he created. Aaron hit the headlines when he joined the New England Patriots, but what about his early life, family, and career?
- In 2015, Aaron was convicted of murder and committed suicide two years later
- He was married to Shayana Jenkins-Hernandez
- The couple had one daughter – Avielle
- Played for the New England Patriots
- He played in Super Bowl XLVI but the team lost to the New York Giants
- After his death, it was revealed that he was suffering from an advanced form of CTE
About Aaron Hernandez
Born on 6th November 1989 in Bristol Connecticut, Hernandez earned All-American honors at the University of Florida and became a pillar of the New England Patriots as a tight end. Football fans regarded Aaron as a superstar in making but his promising career was derailed in 2013 following his arrest and charges with first-degree murder of his friend Odin Lloyd.
While on trial for the murder of Lloyd, Hernandez was linked to the murder of two men in Boston following a drive-by shooting which occurred in 2012. In April 2015, things turned from bad to worse for the superstar as he was found guilty for the murder of Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was acquitted of the 2012 double murders and a few days later, the world received the shocking news of his demise. Football fans will live to remember 19th April 2017, the day Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his jail cell.
After his death, his 2013 murder conviction was erased by the judge following the Massachusetts case law which states that convictions should be vacated whenever the defendant dies before the appeal is heard. Later in 2017, there was another shocking revelation related to Aaron Hernandez that he had been suffering from a life-threatening degenerative brain illness CTE linked to head trauma.
Early Life and College Football
Aaron Hernandez was born in 1989 to Terri Valentine-Hernandez and Dennis Hernandez. He had an older brother, a professional footballer by the name Dennis Jr. who played at the University of Connecticut. He went to the Bristol Central High School where he started showing his skills in basketball and played on an AAU team. He later turned his focus to football and became a pillar in his team during Connecticut Conference Southern Division Championship and thanks to his exceptional skills, he won All-State honors.
His celebrations for his accomplishments were short-lived following the death of his father during his senior year as a result of complications from routine hernia surgery. However, Hernandez believed that he had a bright future ahead of him and instead of giving up, he prepared for his college football career.
He joined the University of Florida and became a star tight end for the college football team. At 6’2″ and 245 pounds, Aaron was a sturdy blocker and portrayed powerful offensive threat. Besides, he had other amazing qualities any tight end footballer would wish for, such as soft hands, breakaway speed, and exceptional catching abilities.
In 2008, Hernandez won the National Championship and one year later, he was appointed a Consensus All-American. He played for the college football team for three seasons and completed 111 catches which marked a school record for tight ends.
Despite his obvious talents, making it to the NFL was not easy for Hernandez as he constantly failed on drug tests which resulted in his rejection by NFL teams. Besides, after his father died, he was involved in various violent incidents such as illegal possession of a gun, battery, and shooting which made it impossible for any NFL team to draft him. But, as fate would have it, it was in the year 2010 when Hernandez took NFL by storm after getting fourth round in NFL draft, and later picked out by New England Patriots with the 113th overall pick.
When 2010 season began, Aaron Hernandez was the youngest player in the NFL and used his skillful tactics to prove that he can play in big leagues. He managed to set the record for the tight ends with an outstanding forty-five catches which helped the Patriots to achieve 14-2 impressive record at the AFC championship. In 2011, he combined forces with his fellow tight end, Rob Gronkowski and the duo’s offense became unstoppable. They successfully completed 24 touchdowns and 2,237 regular season yards but the Patriots painfully lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
His remarkable performance for the Patriots was rewarded in August 2012 with a five-year contract extension, but he didn’t have as much success as anticipated due to an ankle injury. In 2013, Wes Welker left the Patriots and Gronkowski got injured and therefore, Hernandez had to assume an even bigger role for the team’s success. He wished to make a comeback in the 2013 season but that never came to pass.
The murder of Odin Lloyd
The dream of Hernandez, a young and skillful football player came crushing down on 17th June 2013 when the body of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player was found in an industrial park just a mile from Hernandez’s residence. Police started their investigations and it was too hard for them to trace the evidence back to Hernandez who had destroyed surveillance footage from his home as well as his cell phone. At the time of his demise, Lloyd was dating Shaneah Jenkins who was a sister to Hernandez’s fiancée.
On 26th June 2013, Hernandez was arrested and charged with five firearms violations and first-degree murder. Less than two hours after his arrest, the Patriots announced his release from the team and soon after, all of his corporate sponsors dropped him.
During the arraignment, it was revealed that the superstar had clear motives of murdering Lloyd. Evidence showed that the two went for an evening out at a Boston nightclub where Lloyd engaged in a conversation with some people who were believed to be Hernandez’s enemies. Out of anger, he and two friends hired a Nissan Altima and drove Lloyd around before mercilessly shooting him several times around 3:30 A.M ultimately leading to his death.
The surveillance footage at the industrial park showed that the Altima the three friends hired was spotted at the crime scene. More footage from Hernandez’s home revealed that he arrived home shortly after 3:30 A.M holding a gun. Besides, the same .45-caliber casings found by the police at the murder scene were also found in the hired car as well as in one of Hernandez’s condos. This proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Aaron Hernandez committed murder.
There were other allegations against Hernandez that came out depicting that he was not as innocent as he looked. For instance, he was under an investigation following his involvement in a drive-in shooting in 2012 where two people were killed. Also, a Florida man accused him of discharging a weapon which caused him to lose an eye. Aaron was once poised for a spectacular NFL career but sadly, he found himself serving a life-without-parole sentence after being proven guilty of Lloyd murder.
Other murder charges
In May 2014, Hernandez faced fresh murder charges in connection with the 2012 drive-in shooting that took place in Boston killing Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu. The incident took place one week before Hernandez commenced his training with the Patriots and according to the news reports, both Furtado and Abreu were spotted at the same Boston nightclub as Hernandez the night they were murdered. When they left the club, they became a target to Hernandez who shot them in their car when they stopped at a traffic light.
Hernandez was charged by Boston grand jury with two counts of first-degree murder and also faced assaults and illegal possessions of weapons in connection with the 2012 drive-in shooting. Hernandez’s lawyer issued a statement proclaiming his client’s innocence of these charges and looked forward to their day in court.
Verdicts and suicide
In January 2015, Hernandez went to trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd and two months later, he was found guilty of murder. The jury thought about his case carefully for six days and made a decision that changed Hernandez’s life for good and he automatically received a life-without-parole sentence under Massachusetts law.
On 14th April 2017, he was pronounced not guilty of two counts of murder of Furtado and Abreu in the 2012 drive-by shooting and five days later, he committed suicide inside his prison cell. He was found hanging from a bedsheet but it was already too late as he could not be resuscitated. Shortly after, his murder sentence was erased according to Massachusetts law. He died at the age of 27 years and left behind a daughter by the name Avielle.
Aaron Hernandez gay
After the death of Aaron Hernandez, there were yet other shocking revelations about his sexual orientations. He was married to one woman and naturally, anyone would be quick to declare him straight. However, the ex-NFL star was not the man people thought he was simply because he had other romantic relationship with men. One of his attorneys George Leontire said that while in prison, he told his mother that he was gay. According to Leontire, Hernandez was abused and molested as a very young kid, the act that made him a gay. He was struggling with an inner battle to manage his self-hatred because it was not his fault. While in prison, he had a woman friend who regularly visited him and he confessed that he was attracted to men and that was the reason he was angry all the time.
Hernandez was feeling guilty and decided to open up about his sexuality to his defense lawyer Jose Baez two days before committing suicide. According to Mr. Baez, Hernandez broke into tears during the confession wondering how his wife would feel when she learns that he was having a secret affair with a man who was a mutual friend to the couple.
Aaron Hernandez gay lover
When Hernandez was a free man, people regarded him as a football superstar and a family man who was happily married to one woman. It was not until he was imprisoned that his sexuality was revealed. After his death, different men decided to open up about the romantic relationship they shared.
Hernandez had an affair with his high school quarterback Dennis SanSoucie. On the field, they formed an unstoppable duo but away from the field, they engaged in romance away from public view. SanSoucie revealed that they were very intimate but tried all the best to hide what they were doing simply because they never wanted people to know.
Fellow prisoner Kyle Kennedy also revealed that he was having a romantic relationship with Hernandez behind bars. According to other news reports, Hernandez had left three suicide notes; one to his alleged prison lover, one to their daughter and another to his wife. Besides, the ex-NFL player had requested the prison officials to allow Kennedy to be his roommate before his death, meaning that the two were lovers.
Hernandez’s autopsy report announced his death as suicide but his family was not convinced and requested for his brain to be released for diagnosis. The report revealed that he had been suffering from a degenerative brain disease famously known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his untimely death. CTE is marked by problems with mood swings, varying degrees of dementia, controlling aggression and lapses in judgment.
Since CTE is very common in football players who constantly suffer concussions, his fiancée and daughter sued the NFL and the New England Patriots for causing his death and eventually depriving Avielle his father’s love and companionship. As a result of the shocking revelation, medical professionals went on record stating that Hernandez had the most severe form of CTE to ever encounter in a 27-year-old person.
The news of Aaron Hernandez spread like wildfire across the world and football lovers were sad that they will never see his skillful tactics ever again. His story also sparked the imagination of James Patterson who decided to write a book about the superstar who would have made a great impact on the world of football but ended up committing suicide. Patterson’s writing also targeted the future generation to get inspired by Hernandez’s story and learn from his mistakes to lead a meaningful life.
In addition to being a best-selling author, Patterson is also famous for his mystery novels and the world celebrated his writings once again in January 2018 when he released a book about Hernandez titled
All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row
The book takes a comprehensive look at Hernandez’s life and the murders that led to his arrest. Upon its release, this page-turner became number one New York Times bestseller for twelve consecutive weeks and will continue to be a hotcake many years to come.