Aaron Hernandez took his life on Wednesday morning, and the lack of a suicide note has deepened the mystery of why the former NFL star killed himself in prison.
Hernandez was found dead by prison officials after reportedly hanging himself in his jail cell. His suicide came less than a week after Hernandez was acquitted for a 2012 double-murder in Boston. The attorney for the former New England Patriots tight end also filed a motion to vacate his conviction for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
As Boston.com reported, prison officials had no indication that Aaron Hernandez was suicidal.
“Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Communications Christopher Fallon also says Wednesday that officials had no concern that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life. The 27-year-old was housed in the general population unit of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. He says Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit if there was any concern about his well-being.”
To compound the mystery surrounding his death, Hernandez reportedly told no one close to him that he was considering taking his life and left no suicide note. That is not unusually statistically, the USA Today‘s Patriots Wire noted. The report cited statistics that only one in four prisoners who take their lives leave a suicide note.
Former @Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell, Massachusetts prison officials confirm. https://t.co/0ve3hqKPdv
But the circumstances of Hernandez’s suicide — which came after a major court victory and the chance of having his previous conviction vacated as well — make it odd that he didn’t leave a suicide note, USA Today added.
“Statistically, it isn’t rare for a suicidal person to leave a note, but considering Hernandez was just acquitted of double-murder charges, and he left behind a fiance and four-year-old daughter, one might think he’d have a final message to leave,” the report noted.
The manner of death was also not unusual among prison inmates. As NBC News noted, suicides made up 5.5 percent of all deaths in federal and state prisons — more than drug and alcohol intoxication, homicide, and accidents combined.
Experts noted that prison officials could address the high number of suicides by assessing those at highest risk.
“[Suicide] is difficult to predict so the only way to intervene is to address as many risk factors as possible,” Dr. Alexandra Fleischmann, an expert in suicide prevention at the World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told NBC News. “These factors are typically mental distress, chronic illness, acute emotional distress or the loss of a loved one.”
Aaron Hernandez’s agent: ‘Absolutely no chance he took his own life’ https://t.co/ztyJrIHnYK #GatorNation pic.twitter.com/CZEwVw1NqP
— SEC Country Florida (@SECCountryUF) April 19, 2017
Officials said they had no reason to suspect that Aaron Hernandez was in danger of taking his life, and the lack of a suicide note makes the motivations that much more difficult to determine.
There had been reports of difficult for Hernandez in prison, however. While behind bars, he reportedly connected with a gang and got into a series of fights, SB Nation reported in 2015 shortly after he was disciplined for getting into his third fight in prison.
“In May, Hernandez reportedly served as the lookout for a gang-related fight and in February 2014 he was charged with assault and battery after a fight with another inmate. Additionally, he was charged with threats to do bodily harm for allegedly threatening an officer in November 2013.”
And in a 2015 interview, the former NFL star’s lawyer said that his money was running out quickly.
“Despite some pretty wild and baseless speculative allegations made about piles of money, there are no piles of money,” John Fitzpatrick told a judge (via the Associated Press).
But with no suicide note, the mystery of Aaron Hernandez’s suicide will likely never be answered in full.
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