Last month, the world was shocked to learn that former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead.
The 27-year-old former NFL star took his own life, hanging himself in his prison cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts.
Though Hernandez was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd, his suicide raised questions.
Hernandez’s motive for killing himself has not been established, and some even raise the possibility of foul play due to unusual timing.
Conspiracy theorists were quick to note that Hernandez had recently been acquitted of double murder charges in a second, related trial.
Only one week before his death, this development offered the athlete and his family hope for his pending appeal of the Lloyd conviction.
But now it seems Hernandez may have waited out his second trial in order to ensure that he was acquitted for a surprising, alternate reason:
By seeing the second case through (assuming he was found not guilty), he could provide for his family by exploiting an arcane legal loophole.
Moments ago, TMZ and several other outlets published the contents of a suicide note Hernandez addressed to his fiancee, Shaynna Jenkins:
The message reads:
“Shay, 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 – literally!
We split into two to come change the world! Your characteristics is that of a true angel and the definition of God’s love!”
“Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you.”
The suicide note concluded:
“This was the Supreme’s, the Almighty’s plan, not mine! I love you! Let (redacted) know how much I love her! Look after (redacted) and (redacted) for me.”
“They are my boys (you’re rich). I knew I loved you = Savage Garden”
The note – particularly the part about Jenkins getting “rich” – seems to shed new light on Hernandez’s possible motives in taking his own life.
According to investigators, in the weeks before Hernandez was found dead, he was heard telling a friend that “if an inmate has an open appeal on his case and dies in prison, he is acquitted of his charge and will be deemed not guilty.”
It seems Hernandez was under the impression that as long as he had a pending appeal in the courts, he would be ruled not guilty upon his death.
That may seem like a meaningless technicality, but for Hernandez’s loved ones, the distinction could be worth millions.
The New England Patriots terminated Hernandez’s contract as a result of his conviction, a move which allowed them to withhold the $6 million he was owed at the time of his arrest.
Now that Hernandez has died an “innocent” man, there’s a possibility that the team will be forced to pay that amount over to the beneficiaries of his will.
But as with all matters involving the legal system and large sums of cash, the matter is complex on every conceivable level.
In other words, the Patriots organization will likely fight any decision that forces them to issue a payment to Hernandez’s estate.
Investigators say they found a total of three notes in Hernandez’s cell.
One was addressed to his 4-year-old daughter, and there are conflicting reports about the recipients of the third letter.
(Some say the missive was addressed to Hernandez’s gay prison lover, while his lawyers claim the note was written to them.)
It will likely be quite some time before all the details of this case are sorted out, but currently one thing is certain:
The strange life and death of Aaron Hernandez won’t be fading from the headlines any time soon.