Aaron Hernandez had become increasingly paranoid after his alleged involvement in a 2012 shooting, and reportedly met with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to confess his fears for his safety.
The Boston Globe conducted interviews and obtained police documents about a meeting Hernandez had with his coach at an Indianapolis hotel in February 2013, several months after the double murder that would find Hernandez on trial for murder a second time. At that point, Hernandez was not a suspect, but he was facing threats from his onetime friend Alexander Bradley, who was with him the night of the July 2012 murder — and who claimed Hernandez later shot him in the face; attempting, and failing to kill him.
According to court records obtained by the Boston Globe, Hernandez’s then-agent Brian Murphy testified before a grand jury that Hernandez said he told Belichick he wanted to be traded to a team on the West Coast, believing that “he and his family would be a lot safer on the other side of the country.”
Belichick reportedly said a trade would not be possible. Murphy also testified that Hernandez often seemed anxious and agitated while at the Massachusetts stadium where the Patriots practiced and competed.
Murphy reportedly said “several occasions where we would be at [Gillette] stadium or we’d be at a restaurant near the stadium and he was afraid that someone was following him or that someone was going to attack him.’’ Murphy said Hernandez feared he would be shot on the field.
Later that year, Belichick recounted his conversation with Hernandez to law enforcement officers, and said that Hernandez had expressed concern about his fiancee and young daughter, not himself. Belichick said he offered to connect Hernandez with the team’s security chief, but that Hernandez refused.
About a month after the meeting with Belichick, Hernandez went to the Los Angeles area to have surgery on his shoulder, performed by Tom Brady’s surgeon. Fiancee Shayanna Jenkins and their daughter met him in California, where he had rented a townhouse in Hermosa Beach. But the night before the surgery, Hernandez and Jenkins got into a fight, and she called 911 after he put his fist through a window in the townhouse.
Less than a week later, police were called again to the home, but left after determining that Jenkins and the baby girl were not in danger. On both occasions, according to the report, Hernandez was drunk.
Meanwhile, Bradley continued to send demands and threat to Hernandez over text message. The Boston Globe obtained some of the messages, in which Hernandez denied the accusations that he had shot Bradley in the face. He was never charged in the shooting.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Elise Amendola]