Any conspiracy theories swirling around Aaron Hernandez's death in prison can end now. Yesterday, Massachusetts prosecutors, state police and public health officials officially ruled the former NFL star's death a suicide.
The Worcester Medical Examiner ruled that Hernandez's official cause of death was asphyxia by hanging, as reported by ESPN. The 27-year-old's body was found hanging in his cell just past 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.
"There were no signs of a struggle and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging," authorities close to the investigation said in a statement, as reported by ESPN.
Investigators discovered three handwritten notes, which were reportedly penned to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, their 4-year-old daughter, Avielle, and his alleged gay prison lover, in his cell as well as a Bible open to John 3:16.
That same verse was written across Hernandez's forehead in blood-red ink. The verse reads: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Along with those discoveries are the grim details that Hernandez may have been planning his suicide for weeks. DailyMail.com reported that Hernandez had given his personal belongings to fellow inmates at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass.
Authorities told ESPN that Hernandez had been locked into his cell around 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The Daily Mail's website added that he had covered his cell floor with soap, so that he wouldn't be able to gain footing in the event he lost his nerve to hang himself. Cardboard had been stuffed into the door to foil any attempt of interference from prison guards. When guards gained entry into his cell, they found Hernandez hanging from a bed sheet. He was pronounced dead about an hour later.
After Hernandez's death was first reported as a suicide early Wednesday morning, his lawyer, Jose Baez, and the former New England Patriots tight end's family immediately expressed doubt that he was capable of taking his own life, with Baez even suggesting that he was possibly murdered. His former agent, Brian Murphy, echoed similar sentiments.
The timing of Hernandez's suicide was odd, too, considering he had just been acquitted in his double-murder trial last Thursday. However, he was already serving life in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty two years ago of the 2013 first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd.
The official ruling of suicide, though, hasn't stopped Jenkins-Hernandez from moving forward with suing the Department of Corrections to prevent state officials from destroying evidence that could possibly prove that he didn't take his own life, as reported by TMZ.
Following a brief struggle between Hernandez's family and the medical examiner over his brain, it will be released to Boston University's renowned CTE unit for research. This comes after Baez said the medical examiner was "illegally" holding onto the brain against Hernandez's family's wishes.
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(Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)