Newly released phone records from the early years of Aaron Hernandez’s incarceration show that former New England Patriots player expected to return to the football field after he finished his sentence — and believed he would be found not guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd.
The Boston Globe obtained recordings of over 900 phone calls Hernandez made from the Bristol County Jail between between June 2013 and April 2015. According to the report, the jail released the previously withheld phone calls following a challenge the Boston Globe filed with the secretary of state’s office, successfully arguing that the recordings are public record.
In the earliest calls Hernandez made from the jail, where he was being held without bail following his arrest for Lloyd’s murder, Hernandez appeared optimistic that he would only be found guilty of a gun possession charge — a prediction that provide to be incorrect, was he was found guilty of Lloyd’s murder.
“I’m still going to be young when I get out of jail, so you know I’m going to try to play ball again,’’ Hernandez told Mike Pouncey, a former teammate at the University of Florida who also went on to the NFL.
Hernandez also spoke to his hometown friends from Bristol, Connecticut, about the rumors of homosexuality that followed him for years.
“The streets know,’’ Hernandez’s friend Brandon Beam reportedly said.
“The street don’t know nothing,’’ Hernandez replied. “They are making [expletive] up.’’
According to the report, Hernandez also spoke of wanting to provide financial support to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, their young daughter, and some longtime friends. He reportedly assigned his agent, Brian Murphy, power of attorney and asked that Jenkins be given $3,000 a month and help finding more affordable housing than the luxury Attleboro home Hernandez had purchased for his family.
“He changed drastically from the son I once knew. I couldn’t grasp or make sense of what was going on in his life and the anger he held and most of the time it was towards me,” Terri Hernandez said in an email to the Boston Globe, which had previously published a six-part investigation based on Hernandez’s jailhouse phone calls made in later years, in which he reportedly revealed he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
“I believe he had to blame someone for all his problems and it was me. I never knew about the abuse molestation and him being gay before he told me in January 2017. If he had told me earlier in life I could have helped him. As far as the CTE no one would have been aware of the damage to his brain until his death. I will never fully understand what happened.”
Following Hernandez’s death from suicide in April 2017 at age 27, an examination of his brain at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center found that he had the most severe case of CTE ever found in someone so young.
Because CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death, those close to Hernandez were likely unaware of the severity of the damage. His suicide, which came just days after he was acquitted of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, shocked his family and friends.
Hernandez had previously been found guilty of murdering Lloyd, but the case was pending an appeal at the time of his death, which led to the conviction being vacated.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool, File]