In a new book, Aaron Hernandez’s attorney has revealed the contents of notes the former NFL star left just before he took his own life in prison on April 19, 2017.
Just days before his suicide by hanging, Hernandez had been acquitted of double murder. He was already serving a life sentence for a previous murder conviction, which was in appeals at the time of his death.
Hernandez’s defense attorney Jose Baez has penned a biography about his client and friend: Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez, is due out on August 21. Just ahead of his release, Baez shared the contents of Hernandez’s suicide notes with the New York Post.
“[Hernandez] wrote three letters the night he died, letters discovered in his cell and released to us by corrections officials a few days after his death,” Baez told the newspaper.
The lawyer noted that the letter addressed to him did not show any indication that Hernandez was planning to take his own life imminently. But the note he left for his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins was far more ominous.
In an interview with the New York Post, Baez explained that he and Hernandez had a close friendship beyond their professional relationship. In his letter to Baez, Hernandez addressed him as “brotha,” and asked him to arrange for Hernandez to personally thank some artists whose music had helped him get through a difficult time.
“Well, I wrote this letter following my acquittal and wanted to voice how I felt and let some people whos[e] music helped me get through hard times, know that it did. Wrong or right — who knows — I just follow my natural instincts and how it guides me. Pros or cons, didn’t weigh them, but I’m sure you’ll let me know your view. Besides that, I want you to know you have me forever like you never understood and time will reveal that I’m not perfect but my love and loyalty is like you’ve never seen! I appreciate all your work, time, effort, and never let that slip your mind!”
In the letter, Hernandez also wrote: “But never forget I will whoop your ass if you get too crazy . . . haha!“
Hernandez’s letters to Jenkins and his daughter Aviana appear to more specifically reference his suicide plans — but the tone remains upbeat.
In the letter to his now-5-year-old daughter, Hernandez wrote:
Daddy will never leave you! I’m entering to the timeless realm in which I can enter into any form at any time because everything that could happen or not happened I see all at once! Life is eternal—believe!!!”
And in the note to Jenkins, Hernandez appears to be preparing her for life without him.
“You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to love 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 … Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you.”
He ends the note with the words: “IT’S TIME!!!”
None of the notes appear to explain the reason behind Hernandez’s decision to take his own life, though his autopsy revealed the former New England Patriots player was suffering from a severe case of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a serious brain disease caused by traumatic or repetitive injury to the head.
[Feature image: Aaron Hernandez/Associated Press]