Former NFL star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez started his life sentence at the maximum security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center with frequent run ins with the prison disciplinary system, according to hundreds of pages of documents released by the state Department of Corrections and the Worcester County District Attorney’s office.
But some of those documents, including one of the three suicide notes Hernandez left in his cell before hanging himself April 19, detail recent inmate interviews that describe a religious man who kept to himself.
Documents from the Worcester District Attorney’s office detail Hernandez’s problems in Bristol County, where he was held until his 2015 conviction of the murder of amateur football player Odin Lloyd.
He was disciplined for assaulting someone inside the prison, possessing gang paraphernalia, and threatening to kill a corrections officer and his family.
It only took Hernandez a month at maximum security Souza-Baranowski to cause trouble.
He arrived in April 2015; by the end of that May, Hernandez had four formal disciplinary reports, for being involved in a fight, blocking his cell door, getting a tattoo in prison, and using another inmate’s phone card.
In July 2015, he was punished for another tattoo, hanging bed sheets over his cell door, and smoking tobacco.
He was involved in three more fights, two of which were broken up by officers with pepper spray. And officials found a nearly 6-inch metal shiv in his belongings.
He got 14 days of disciplinary detention for that infraction. For most of the others, he lost rights to the canteen, the yard, and the phone.
But inmates interviewed after Hernandez’s suicide said described him as someone who “kept to himself, was very spiritual, appeared to be positive, liked to meditate…and did not observe him to be acting differently or having any issues.”
One who claimed to be one of Hernandez’s closes friends state he had “just spoke with him yesterday and he was in a great place,” and that “he was a spiritual guy who was always quoting the bible.”
That inmate told investigators “since (the April 13) verdict he had been talking about the NFL and going back to play even if it wasn’t with the pats.
He said he talked about his daughter and spending time with her and “there was no indication that he would do anything like that.”
The Bristol County district attorney’s office Friday released one of Hernandez’s suicide notes, the one he wrote to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez.
The letter begins, “You have always been my soul mate and I want you to live life and know I’m always with you. I told you what was coming indirectly!”
He told her she was an angel, and asked her “to let what we believe is his daughter to know much he loved her.”
At the end, he underlined, “You’re rich.”
And he told her, “Tell my story fully.”
Prison guards found Hernandez dead in his cell at 3:03 a.m. April 19. He had hung a sheet over his cell door, jammed the track, covered the floor with soapy water, and hung himself.
The Bible citation John 3:16 was written in blood on the cell wall and in marker on his forehead. A Bible was found open to that Gospel, with a spot of blood marking the passage.