Wednesday's news of Aaron Hernandez's shocking prison suicide has flipped the sports world upside down, as NFL players and fans continue to offer their stunned reactions.
One of those people stunned is none other than Hernandez's lead attorney, Jose Baez, but for a different reason.
TMZ Sports is reporting that Baez has reason to believe that Hernandez could have been murdered by inmates or as a homicide plotted by prison officials at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, where the former NFL star was discovered hung just past 3 a.m. this morning.
Baez has launched an investigation into the Hernandez's death on behalf of the former New England Patriots' tight end's family, which he told TMZ is "devastated" by the news and isn't buying that the 27-year-old was in the mental state to commit suicide.
"We are shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron’s death," Baez told TMZ. "There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated this scenario was a possibility. Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death."
Baez added, "We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation. The Baez law firm will participate in its own examination into the tragic events and will update the media and public on its finding when it becomes available."
To that end, the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center has already begun investigating the incident.
Apparently, though, Baez and Hernandez's family aren't the only ones who don't believe that he took his own life.
Hernandez's former agent, Brian Murphy, echoed similar sentiments via a tweet today, referring to his former client by his nickname, "Chico."
The timing of Hernandez's suicide is strange, considering he was just found not guilty last Thursday of a 2012 double murder of two men. That was separate from the life-in-prison sentence without the possibility of parole that Hernandez was already serving after being found guilty two years ago of the 2013 first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd.
That being said, after last week's not-guilty verdict, Baez told TMZ that there's a "strong likelihood" of getting Hernandez's prior murder conviction overturned via a successful appeal.
Hernandez leaves behind his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, and their 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. Last week in court, Hernandez mouthed, "I love you," to Jenkins and flashed a smile towards his heartbroken toddler.
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(Photo: John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)