High-profile pathologist performs independent autopsy on Aaron Hernandez

WATERTOWN, MASS. (WHDH) - Well-known pathologist Dr. Michael Baden conducted an independent autopsy on Aaron Hernandez at a funeral home in Watertown on Thursday.

Baden, the former chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, played a part in the assassination investigations of both President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. He famously testified in the OJ Simpson murder trial more than 20 years ago. He was a forensic expert for the defense in the murder trial of record producer Phil Spector and examined the body of comedian John Belushi after his drug-related death in 1982.

Baden also performed an independent autopsy on Michael Brown, the teenager shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Hernandez’s lawyers Jose Baez and Ron Sullivan were also at the funeral home and waited while Baden performed the autopsy on his own. He then left the funeral home without comment.

The medical examiner officially ruled Hernandez’s death a suicide by asphyxia after the former Patriots player was found dead in his jail cell early Wednesday morning. Officials said Hernandez had hanged himself in his jail cell with a bedsheet. Baez called for a thorough investigation of Hernandez’s death and said his family wanted an independent autopsy conducted.

Baez accused the medical examiner of holding onto Hernandez’s brain “illegally” after the autopsy was conducted, saying Hernandez’s family wanted to donate it to Boston University for research on CTE, a degenerative brain disease. The medical examiner said they wanted to hold onto it until the cause of death was released and will now release the brain to BU.

The funeral home said Hernandez’s body will be embalmed there before it is brought to Connecticut.

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