The Massachusetts Department of Corrections said state police will investigate what it called the apparent suicide of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, but others are promising to take a closer look into what happened.
Officials said Wednesday that there was no indication that Hernandez was suicidal.
“It’s possible it might not be a suicide, but there are people committing suicide in this facility,” State Sen. Jamie Eldridge said. “(There are) five, six, seven people every few years.”
According to the Boston Globe, Hernandez is the 27th suicide in Massachusetts state prisons since 2010, and the second so far this year.
Another person promising to investigate Hernandez’s apparent suicide is his high-profile attorney, Jose Baez. He recently won an acquittal for Hernandez in his double murder trial.
In a statement, Baez writes:
“We are heartbroken and we are determined to find the truth. We are looking into the process and will conduct a transparent investigation into his untimely death.”
The Globe reports that an official told it that corrections officers conduct nighttime bed checks once an hour and on a staggered schedule to increase the chance of locating an inmate who may have an issue.
“I really hope Gov. (Charlie) Baker and the Legislature take a hard look at improving conditions for prisoners and corrections officers,” Eldridge said.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Aaron Hernandez sits in the courtroom of the Attleboro District Court during his hearing on August 22, 2013 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Officers immediately began to render life-saving techniques and Hernandez was taken to UMass Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.
Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit when he was found hanging from a bed sheet that he had attached to his cell window, according to officials.
Also, officials said, Hernandez tried to block his cell door from the inside by jamming it with several items preventing it from being opened.
A Thursday news release from Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., Col. Richard McKeon, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, and Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett said the death of Hernandez has been ruled a suicide.
“Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry N. Nields performed an autopsy on Mr. Hernandez on Wednesday and concluded today that the manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging," the release said.
“There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.”
Hernandez was serving a life-sentence for killing Odin Lloyd in 2013.
He was acquitted Friday in a 2012 double killing in the South End that prosecutors said Hernandez committed after one of the men allegedly spilled a drink on him.
Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd. He has been sentenced to life without parole.
Murder 1: GUILTYThe jury believes the shooting of Odin Lloyd was premeditated or planned and was not a spontaneous crime of passion and/or there was extreme atrocity or cruelty indicating that Hernandez had no regard for Lloyd and possibly wanted him to suffer. Weapons charges:1. The jury believes Hernandez unlawfully carried a firearm. GUILTY2. The jury believes Hernandez unlawfully possessed ammunition. GUILT
The jury consists of seven women and five men who have been deliberating the case since last week. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killing of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.Hernandez's lawyer acknowledged his client was there when Lloyd was shot, but pinned it on two of Hernandez's friends.Prosecutors said Hernandez killed Lloyd and thought he could get away with it because no one would believe it was him.