AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang and was once disciplined for having gang paraphernalia, according to newly released documents related to the investigation into his prison suicide.
A death report released Friday lists the Bloods under Hernandez’s “gang profile” and says Hernandez was once disciplined for having “STG” paraphernalia. In prison, “STG” stands for Security Threat Group,” a euphemism for gangs.
The Bloods is a violent gang that started in California but made its way across the country to the East Coast and now claims to have thousands of members.
The former New England Patriots tight end was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell on April 19 in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. released the report Friday in response to a public records request from The Associated Press.
The report says that while Hernandez was housed in a Bristol County jail awaiting trial in the 2013 case, he was disciplined for five violations, including threatening to kill a corrections officer and his family; submitting a urine sample that tested positive for Neurontin, an anti-epileptic drug that is also used as a painkiller; committing an aggravated assault; refusing to obey a direct order; and possessing gang paraphernalia.
Separate reports released Thursday by state police and the Department of Correction offer some insight into Hernandez’s final days.
Interviews with inmates show Hernandez was excited about his acquittal in a 2012 double slaying and did not appear to have thoughts of suicide.
“They stated that he was positive and even happily emotional, which was not usual of Hernandez,” the Department of Correction report states.
An inmate who claimed to be one of Hernandez’s closest friends said he was shocked by Hernandez’s suicide because he seemed so upbeat after his acquittal.
“Since Friday’s verdict he had been talking about the NFL and going back to play even if it wasn’t with the Pats,” the inmate said, according to the report. “He talked about his daughter and spending time with her.”
The state police report said Hernandez wrote “John 3:16,” a reference to a Bible verse, in ink on his forehead and in blood on the wall of his cell. The verse says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
A Bible was nearby, open to John 3:16, with the verse marked by a drop of blood.
Some inmates said Hernandez had become increasingly spiritual during his time in prison.
“They felt that his suicide had been some sort of religious message,” the Department of Correction report said.
The report also said Hernandez knew about Massachusetts case law that says a prisoner’s convictions can be erased if he dies before his appeal has been heard, as Hernandez did.
Hernandez’s lawyers in his double-murder trial have also said Hernandez showed no signs he planned to kill himself, and they have pledged to conduct an independent investigation into Hernandez’s death. The defense team also blasted state officials for leaks to the media of some of the information contained in the reports.
The Department of Correction also released prison records showing Hernandez was cited a dozen times for disciplinary issues, including physical altercations with other inmates, possessing a homemade cigarette and lighter, possessing a homemade weapon, getting a tattoo and having another inmate in his cell. Sanctions for those violations included the loss of his phone, gym and yard privileges.
One report says Hernandez was “insolent” toward a correction officer and used a racial epithet after he was cited for tampering with a lock.
“This place ain’t (expletive) to me. I’ll run this place and keep running (expletive). Prison ain’t (expletive) to me,” he said, according to the report.
Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, played three seasons for the Patriots before he was released by the team hours after his arrest in June 2013 in the killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in that case and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
[Featured Image: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool]
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