Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee and the defense lawyer who helped acquit Hernandez in his second murder trial are challenging a ruling that the former professional football player committed suicide in his jail cell on Wednesday.
According to TMZ, Jose Baez, who defended Hernandez in his double murder trial that ended in an acquittal last Friday, has launched an investigation into Hernandez’s death on behalf of the disgraced NFL star’s surviving family, who reportedly do not believe that the former New England Patriots tight end could have taken his own life.
Another lawyer representing Hernandez’s fiancee Shaynna Jenkins appeared in court on Friday to demand that the Department of Corrections preserve all evidence connected to Hernandez’s death, according to the Boston Globe.
Hernandez was found hanging in his jail cell early Wednesday morning. By Thursday, the medical examiner had ruled his death a suicide, with the cause of death asphyxia by hanging. Investigators reportedly found three suicide notes in his jail cell, and Hernandez had written a reference to the Bible passage John 3:16 on his forehead.
According to the Boston Globe, Hernandez’s family members have not been told what was written in the suicide notes, two of which investigators have said were addressed to his fiancee and four-year-old daughter, respectively. It appears that the family first learned of the suicide notes from media reports.
“We don’t know the status of those suicide notes,” Jenkins’s personal attorney George Leontire reportedly said in court on Friday. “We don’t know what those suicide notes say, if they are suicide notes.”
The judge ruled in favor of Leontire’s request to preserve evidence related to Hernandez’s death. At the hearing, the attorney criticized officials at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, where Hernandez was being held at the time of his death, for failing to check on him during the night before he died.
Hernandez was reportedly locked into his cell at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and no one at the prison entered the cell until about 3 a.m. the next morning, after Hernandez had reportedly hung himself.
According to the Boston Globe, Leontire said in court that failing to visit Hernandez’s cell for several hours was an “extraordinary violation” of Department of Justice protocol.
The attorney raised the possibility that Jenkins could file a negligence lawsuit against the prison. According to the newspaper, Jenkins did not attend the hearing.
Photo: Associated Press