BOSTON (AP) – Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez seemed to be excited about his acquittal in a 2012 double slaying and did not appear to have thoughts of suicide in the days before he killed himself in his prison cell, according to a report from Massachusetts prison officials.
The state Department of Correction report released Thursday also said there were no drugs in Hernandez’s system when the former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself at the Souza-Baranowski prison on April 19 while serving a life sentence in a 2013 murder.
Hernandez’s body was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell just five days after he was acquitted in the killings of two men in Boston in July 2012.
The report described interviews with inmates who said that in the days before his death, Hernandez appeared happy about his acquittal and seemed to be looking forward to the future.
“They stated that he was positive and even happily emotional, which was not usual of Hernandez,” the report states.
Other inmates said Hernandez had become increasingly spiritual during his time in prison.
“They felt that his suicide had been some sort of religious message,” the report said.
The prisons department report also says Hernandez knew about Massachusetts case law that says a prisoner’s convictions can be erased if he dies before his appeal has been heard, as Hernandez did.
One inmate said Hernandez had recently mentioned that legal principle to him.
“The rumor was 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,” the report said.
An inmate who claimed to be one of Hernandez’s closest friends said he was shocked by Hernandez’s suicide because he seemed so upbeat after his acquittal.
“Since Friday’s verdict he had been talking about the NFL and going back to play even if it wasn’t with the Pats,” the inmate said, according to the report.
“He talked about his daughter and spending time with her,” the same inmate said.
“There was absolutely no indication he would do anything like that.”
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