A Fallen Patriot: The Tragic Story Of Aaron Hernandez (Part two)

Aaron Hernandez: Mug Shot
Aaron Hernandez: Murder Trial
Aaron Hernandez: Sentencing Hearing (related gun charges)

Is it just me or does it seem like Aaron Hernandez played in the NFL for a lot longer than he did? He came onto the scene and made a name for himself rather quickly. The media mentioned his name and showed highlights of his plays at least twice a week. It felt like he played for six or seven years but he only played for three. Maybe I turned 30 and all the years just started to mush together for me. In this article, I will discuss Hernandez’s legal troubles and his release from the New England Patriots. I hate to do this but I might have to do another part after this about his personal life and the events leading up to his unfortunate suicide. I try very hard to keep my articles as short as possible with as much information jammed in as I can. I think it makes it easier for you all to read. I forgot just how much there is to talk about when it comes to this story/case.

Please hang in there. I want to touch on every single part of this, like every damn thing that came out about this case. Because it shows you that some of the most dangerous people look the most normal. How could such a devastatingly handsome smile belong to such a dark and evil soul?

Picture of aforementioned smile for reference, you’re welcome.

Ok, folks, here we go, here the f*** we go! Aaron had run-ins with the law for most of his life but our tale started fourteen years ago, in 2007. On April 14, 2007, 17-year-old Aaron Hernandez and his good buddy Tim Tebow decided to head to a Florida bar for a few drinks. Remember, Tebow had already sealed his fate as the University of Florida’s star quarterback, so I’m assuming he got special treatment anywhere he went and was treated like a celebrity. That most likely included anyone who was with him, so Hernandez getting his hands on drinks at a public establishment was probably rather either. Even when he was under 21 years of age. Tim Tebow doesn’t drink, he does not touch a drop of alcohol, that’s his personal choice and more power to him. This often makes me wonder why he decided to take Hernandez to a bar and not somewhere else. Oh well, I’m getting off-topic per usual.

The two friends decided it was time to head back to their dorms for the night and prepared to leave. Hernandez was asked to pay for the two drinks he consumed and probably thoroughly enjoyed. He refused to pay and began throwing his name around. Asking people if they knew who he was and that he played football for the Florida Gators, shit like that. It is unclear if Tebow was asked to pay for whatever he had that night or not. Either way, Hernandez felt entitled. Making a scene and throwing his name around did not benefit him in any way and Aaron was escorted out of the bar by the manager and another restaurant employee. Once they made it outside of the bar the manager turned to walk always from the situation thinking everything had been handled. Hernandez pulled back and sucker-punched the gentleman on the side of the head with enough force to rupture his eardrum.

The police made it to the scene at 1:17 a.m. and Hernandez called Coach Urban Meyer. and Meyer called Huntley Johnson, the team’s unofficial defense lawyer. The manager later told police that he had been contacted by lawyers and the team and that a settlement was being worked out, something the team denied. Of course, why would a high-profile colligate football team admit to trying to keep something one of their players did hush hush? The police department recommended charging Hernandez with felony battery, but the incident was settled out of court. He got off by this skin of his teeth with that one. So, lesson learned right? Hernandez cleaned up his act and all was well in the world. Yeah, not so much. On September 30, 2007, someone approached a car on foot that had three men sitting inside; Randall Carson, Justin Glass, and Corey Smith, and fired five shots while they were waiting at a Gainesville traffic light after having left a nightclub. Smith was shot in the back of the head, and Glass was shot in the arm. Both men survived. Carson, a back-seat passenger, was unharmed and told police that the shooter was a “Hawaiian” or “Hispanic” male with a large build weighing about 230 pounds (100 kilograms, don’t be impressed, I googled the conversion) and had many tattoos. Damn those are some lucky ass dudes, it just wasn’t their time.

Randall Carson was able to pick a photo of Aaron Hernandez out of a lineup and police told Meyer’s personal assistant that they wanted to see Hernandez and two of his teammates immediately. The detectives “kept pushing coaches” to bring the players to the station and ended up waiting hours for them to arrive. The other players cooperated with the police, but Hernandez announced that he wanted his attorney and refused to speak further with authorities. When police walked into the room to question Hernandez, the last player to be interviewed, they found him with his head down on the table and sleeping, a posture they said was “unusual for someone in the middle of a homicide investigation”. I was watching this show “The First 48” and this lady killed her husband she also fell asleep in the interrogation room, head down on the table and everything! What is with people? No charges were filed at the time but during the Odin Lloyd case, this incident would come back to bite him in the ass.

At 3:45 a.m. on April 30, 2011, Hernandez’s high school friend got pulled over earlier in the while driving Hernandez home from a Boston bar. The driver was weaving in and out of lanes and traveling at 120 miles (193 kilometers) per hour in a work zone, on a highway with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers). The Massachusetts State Trooper who pulled the car over did not arrest the driver because he recognized Hernandez in the passenger seat. Wow, just wow, no wonder this dude thought he was untouchable. Shit. On July 16, 2012, near the Cure Lounge in Boston’s South End Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado were killed when shots were fired into their car. Witnesses testified that Hernandez’s silver SUV pulled up next to the victims and someone sitting inside yelled racial slurs towards the victims. Someone inside the SUV then fired five shots, killing the two men. Police immediately identified Hernandez, in the club’s security camera footage, but thought it was a coincidence that Hernandez happened to be at the club that evening. Really? A coincidence? Some people are slipping on the job. Sheesh. Just like the 2007 shooting in 2007, this one will come back to haunt him as well.

As a Patriot, Hernandez hired two of his friends from Bristol, both of whom had criminal records, as assistants. One of them, Alexander S. Bradley, was his drug dealer. Wow, a two-for-one special. A personal assistant and a drug dealer in one. A one-stop-shop. In February 2013, Hernandez, Bradley, and a few other friends visited a Florida strip club where they rang up a $10,000 tab. While they were watching those booties bounce Hernandez started to become suspicious of two men sitting across from the pair, believing they were plainclothes Boston police officers. Bradley told Hernandez that the two men were probably tracking them as part of their investigation into the double murder outside of Cure. Alexander Bradley claimed he only said this to mess with Hernandez since the pair’s relationship had become rocky at this point.

Alexander Bradley claimed that on February 13, 2013 (while on this same trip) that he woke up in a car and saw Aaron Hernandez pointing a gun at his face. The next morning police found Bradley in a parking lot bleeding from a gunshot wound between his eyes. Bradley survived but would eventually lose his right eyes. Instead of working with the police Bradley sought revenge. For three months the two would exchange over 500 text messages some of which included death threats and attempts at extortion. Bradley claimed that he received a message from Hernandez stating that he had; “semiautomatic weapons, bulletproof vests, and a crew that ran six deep.” Aaron Hernandez’s agent tried unsuccessfully to settle the matter quietly. Bradley demanded $5 million to keep quiet about the whole thing. Hernandez countered with $1.5 million. After Bradley fired back asking for $2 million Hernandez contacted his attorney. On June 13, 2013, Bradley filed a civil lawsuit for damages against Hernandez in a Florida federal court. In February 2016, Hernandez reached a settlement with Bradley over the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

In 2013, Hernandez traveled to California with his high school sweetheart (now his fiancée), Shayanna Jenkins, and their young daughter to have shoulder surgery. While there Jenkins called the police twice in less than a week, claiming that Hernandez was drunk and violent towards her. Hernandez’s friends and brother claimed that there were drugs and weapons hidden in the rented California apartment, but police determined that Jenkins and their daughter were not in danger and never searched the property.

On June 18, 2013, authorities searched Hernandez’s property in connection with an investigation into the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd, whose body had been found in an industrial park just a mile from Hernandez’s home. Lloyd had been shot multiple times in his back and chest. I won’t bore you with all the gory details because I’m sure you guys have heard it all on the news and such before. The very next day Aaron Hernandez assured coach Bill Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft that he had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. Despite his claims, Hernandez was banned from Gillett Stadium to avoid it from becoming the “site of a media stakeout”.

The Patriots also decided to sever all ties with Hernandez if he was arrested on any charge related to the case. Just a week later on, June 26, 2013, Aaron Hernandez was charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd in addition to five other gun-related charges. I remember the media coverage like it was yesterday. Hernandez being escorted out of his house to a police car, his handcuffed underneath a white t-shirt that had hastily been thrown on. It was a sight that shocked the nation and football fans everywhere. I was at work when the alert came across my phone but it felt like I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it, and that night when I got home and turned on the news, I had. My Dad and I both share a love of sports and man I couldn’t text him fast enough so we could talk about the mind boggling situation.

True to their word, the New England Patriots released their star tight end approximately ninety minutes later. Within mere hours of Hernandez’s arrest, the team’s official pro shop at “Patriot Place” removed all his memorabilia and merchandise. The following items were also removed from their internet shop. The Patriots ProShop would end up exchanging about 2,500 previously sold Hernandez jerseys for other jerseys, destroying and recycling the number eighty-one jerseys for a loss of about $250,000. By releasing Hernandez, the Patriots accelerated all of Hernandez’s remaining guaranteed money into the 2013 and 2014 salary caps: the team took a $2.55 million hit in 2013, and another $7.5 million in 2014. Shit was just a mess all around. Since Hernandez had not completed his fourth season in the league, the Patriots were required to place him on waivers after releasing him. He went unclaimed. After Hernandez cleared waivers on June 28, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that, while charges against Hernandez were pending, the NFL would not approve any contract signed by Hernandez until Goodell held a hearing to determine whether or not Hernandez should face suspension or other action under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Shit was just a mess all around.

CytoSport and Puma terminated their endorsement deals with Hernandez. EA Sports announced that Hernandez’s likeness would be dropped from its NCAA Football 14 and Madden NFL 25 video games. A prize-winning photo of Hernandez from his rookie season, depicting him triumphantly high-stepping into the end zone in front of Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields, was removed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Panini America, a sports memorabilia and trading card company, removed stickers of Hernandez from approximately 500,000 sticker books that had not yet been sent to collectors. Tim Tebow was used as a replacement on the stickers and trading cards. The University of Florida erased Hernandez’s name and likeness from various locations at its football facilities, including a stone that had his name and “All American” inscribed upon it. Bristol Central High School also removed all his awards and gave them to his family. Pop Warner removed his name from a list of award recipients.

On August 22, 2013, Aaron Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He pled not guilty on September 6, 2013. It’s funny because I think people truly believed that he was innocent. People thought he would just walk away from all of this. Spoiler alert, he didn’t! On April 15, 2015, after a lengthy trial, Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder. In Massachusetts this charge automatically carries a life sentence, without the possibility of parole. He was also subsequently found guilty on all five additional gun charges. 

After the verdict, Hernandez gave power of attorney to his agent and instructed him to provide his fiancée with $3,000 a month and help her find more affordable housing. He also set aside $500,000 for his fiancée and their daughter and $120,000 for a close friend. A close friend you say? I wonder who that is. Seriously, I have no idea who it is.

I will end this part here. I know I said that we would reach the riveting conclusion in this article but we will in the next one. I promise! I couldn’t fit his appeals, suicide, and additional personal life details in here on top of this shit show. So, one more article will be written about this case. Just one more! You can do it! You can hang in there! I believe in you!

Sources:

Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez – Jose Baez

“Aaron Hernandez timeline: From murders and trials to prison suicide” – Sporting News

“The Secret Life of Aaron Hernandez” – YouTube

“Killer Inside: The Mind Of Aaron Hernandez” – Netflix

“Aaron Hernandez: An ID Murder Mystery – Investigation Discovery

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