Aaron Hernandez, the convicted killer and former New England Patriots star, wrote a popular bible verse on his forehead using a red marker pen before committing suicide in his Massachusetts jail cell, it has been claimed.
The disgraced ex NFL star reportedly scrawled the verse ‘John 3:16’, which 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.’
He also left a Bible in his cell on to that verse, according to CBS Boston. The verse has been referred to as ‘The Gospel in a Nutshell’.
Investigators are also said to be looking at the possibility Hernandez smoked K2 synthetic marijuana before taking his own life.
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Inmates are telling investigators that Hernandez was high on K2 – also known as ‘Spice’ – prior to his death, DailyMail.com has learned.
That’s the same drug he was said to be smoking the night of Lloyd’s murder. Although the chemical composition of the drug varies, it’s been linked to psychotic episodes, collapses and seizures among users.
The investigative team is also looking at a 22-year-old friend and fellow inmate of Hernandez’s who is believed to be the last person to see him alive. The inmate is now under suicide watch.
The fresh developments came after it was suggested Hernandez may have – inadvertently or intentionally – cleared his own name by committing suicide early this morning.
Under a long-standing state legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard.
The former Patriot tight-end was found hanged with his own bed sheets at 3am this morning at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.
It comes less than a week after he was acquitted of the 2012 murders of Boston men Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
He was already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s finance.
Hernandez’s attorneys can now move to have the conviction in the Lloyd case erased, said Martin Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association.
‘For all intent and practical purposes, Aaron Hernandez will die an innocent man,’ said Healy.
Hernandez’s shock suicide came on the same day his former teammates were honored at the White House for their recent Super Bowl win.
Hours after Hernandez’s death, quarterback Tom Brady said he would not be attending the Patriots celebration.
He cited ‘recent developments’ and said he was ‘attending to some personal family matters’. He thanked President Trump for ‘supporting our team as long as I can remember’.
He later posted a photo on Instagram of his parents – thanking them for their loving relationship.
Christopher Fallon, the assistant deputy commissioner of communications of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, sent out a message after Hernandez’s death on Wednesday.
‘On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanged in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05am.
‘Lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07am by a physician at the hospital,’ said Fallon.
‘Mr Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit. Mr Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window.
‘Mr Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items. The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation continues. Mr Hernandez’s next of kin have been notified.’
A spokesperson for the Patriots said that the team would not be commenting on Hernandez’s death at this time, stating: ‘We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.’
Reports suggest that Hernandez had a violent record in prison, including many fights with other inmates, but he had never attempted suicide.
Massachusetts State Police are investigating the incident, and will take a look at what time he went to his cell, the last time he was seen by guards.
They will also look into whether there had been any recent incidents between Hernandez and other inmates.
DailyMail.com understands that Hernandez may have developed an antagonistic relationship with some members of the Bloods gang in the prison.
Certainly his links with the group go back at least two years, to May 2015, when he was one of two men who beat up a third man in an attack that was ‘gang-related.’
A source told Fox News Latino at the time: ‘The victim in the fight was some absolute nobody. He was just trying to show he’s down with the Bloods, a scared man looking at life in prison.’
In December of that year, he was pictured in court with a distinctive Bloods prison tattoo: A five-pointed star with ‘Lifetime’ across the top and ‘Loyalty’ across the middle.
Whether or not Hernandez was a member of the predominantly African-American gang was not confirmed, but sources suggest that there may have been friction between him and the group of late.
Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, said that he and the family believe that the former football star was murdered, and did not commit suicide.
‘There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible,’ said Baez.
‘Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence.’
Brian Murphy, Hernandez’s former sports agent, Tweeted on Wednesday that he did not believe that the football player – whom he nicknamed ‘Chico’ – had committed suicide.
‘Absolutely no chance he took his own life,’ he tweeted. ‘Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him, and he would never take his own life.’
Other items to be investigated are the recent phone calls and visits that Hernandez received. A prison official has confirmed that he was not on suicide watch at the time of his death and was found during a regular hourly check by wardens.
However, he had been placed on suicide watch immediately after his conviction for killing Lloyd in 2015, an unnamed source within the prison told the Boston Globe.
While his time in prison may have been uncomfortable, Hernandez showed little sign of emotional distress throughout most of his recent seven-week trial, sources told the Boston Globe.
He would wave to his daughter from the gallery, happily devoured the egg sandwiches provided to him by the court, and would joke with the court’s clerks, one of whom he had teased about going to the barber even though he was losing his hair.
He was ‘The happiest defendant I ever saw,’ said one court employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ernesto Abreu, 61, said he took no pleasure in seeing the man recently acquitted of his son’s murder dead.
‘I’m not happy about his death; it’s actually a shame, any loss of life is a shame. I believe in leaving things in God’s hands,’ he told the Boston Globe.
He added: ‘Legally, there is no one at blame for my son’s death, and, yes, I’m sad about that, but we are moving on from this.’
William Kennedy, the attorney for the estate of Furtado, the other victim, said: ‘The family has their own loss to concentrate on, the loss of these two young fellows.
‘I don’t think they take any joy in the loss of the Hernandez family. . . . That’s the way they are. They keep God in their hearts at all times.’
Hernandez developed a wild side at 16 after his father died due to complications from routine hernia surgery.
But he found a supportive family – and something of a religious education – while playing for the University of Florida’s Gators.
Realizing that Hernandez had the potential for both greatness and disaster, Gators head coach Urban Meyer decided to step in and take the boy under his wing.
Meyer ‘became his father, more or less,’ Hernandez’s mom, Terri, told USA Today in 2009.
He assigned veteran twin linebackers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey to look after him, and made outspoken Christian Tim Tebow the young man’s ‘life instructor’.
Meyer would also read Bible passages with Hernandez at 7:30am every day in his office.
Hernandez also got religious tattoos – God’s hands, sunlight streaming from Heaven and Jesus’s hands on the cross – that would later be joined by the Bloods tattoo he picked up in prison.
Hernandez’s lawyer, Baez did not comment on whether he would apply to have Hernandez’s conviction vacated under the Massachusetts ‘abatement ab initio’ or ‘from the beginning’ principle.
However, there has been success for legal teams using the ‘abatement ab initio’ argument to void convictions in Massachusetts in recent years.
The child molestation conviction of former Roman Catholic priest John Geoghan, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boston archdiocese, was vacated after he was beaten to death in 2003 in his cell at the same maximum-security prison as Hernandez.
John Salvi, who was convicted of killing two abortion clinic workers and wounding five other people during a shooting rampage in Brookline in 1994, also had his convictions tossed after he killed himself in prison.
Some have also speculated that the move could help protect Hernandez’s remaining fortune for his partner and daughter.
Any civil lawsuits against the former athlete by his victims and alleged victims will be allowed to proceed but will now be more complicated if his convictions are vacated.
In the case of Odin Lloyd no evidence used in Hernandez’s trial will be allowed in civil court, according to the Boston Globe.
However, it is unclear just how much of the football star’s wealth remains given the hefty legal bills from his defense.
Hernandez was an All-American tight end at the University of Florida and was named a Pro Bowl alternative in his second season in the NFL with the Patriots.
At 20 years old, he started the 2010 season as the youngest player on any active roster in the NFL.
He was selected by the team in the fourth round of the NFL draft that year and quickly proved to be one to watch in the league.
In his first two seasons with the Patriots he proved to be such an asset that he was signed to a five year contract extension in August 2012 worth a staggering $40 million.
That bonus came after his commanding performance in the 2012 Super Bowl earlier that year, during which he scored a touchdown and lead the team in yards despite their loss to the New York Giants.
Hernandez’s 2012 season was his best yet, and he seemed to have everything going for him as he and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski proved to be an indestructible tandem and were both league leaders in yards, receptions and touchdowns.
And things got even better that November when his longtime girlfriend gave birth to their daughter.
Despite having so much going his way, Hernandez made the decision to throw it all away in the off-season when he murdered Lloyd in June 2013, with the Patriots releasing him soon after his arrest.
He has been in prison ever since. Soon after his arrest he was also indicted for the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were found shot to death in their car as they waited at a red light in Boston’s South End neighborhood.
The Wall Street Journal revealed a month after Hernandez’s arrest for the murder of Lloyd that the Patriots were aware of concerning behaviors exhibited by the tight end before they made the decision to draft him three years prior.
In a test given to almost all NFL prospects, Hernandez’s ranked incredibly low for social maturity and it was noted that his responses ‘suggest he enjoys living on the edge of acceptable behavior and that he may be prone to partying too much and doing questionable things that could be seen as a problem for him and his team.’
The reward was greater than the risk for the Patriots in the end, and after two seasons without incident it seemed logical for the team to re-sign the star tight end to a contract extension.
His fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and their four-year-old daughter attended court during jury deliberations, and Hernandez was seen blowing them kisses when he was cleared of the 2012 double homicide of de Abreu and Furtado last week.
The football star was reduced to tears in that moment when a jury declared him not guilty in the death of the two men, who the prosecution had argued were murdered by Hernandez for spilling a drink on the football star.
Soon after, it was reported that Hernandez would be appealing his initial murder conviction in hopes of having his life sentence commuted.
Some stars and athletes have taken to social media to respond gushingly to Hernandez’s death despite his murder conviction.
‘To my friend my brother! Through thick and thin right or wrong we never left each other’s side. Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imagined. It was just a day ago we shared our last convo,’ wrote Mike Pouncey, who played with Hernandez in Florida and is now on the Miami Dolphins.
‘I will forever miss you and love you bro. we will meet again rest easy!’
Hernandez was accused of killing Abreu and Furtado in a drive-by shooting in July 2012 in Boston’s South End after an altercation outside a night club.
He had pleaded not guilty in the Massachusetts trial.
On Friday, the jury acquitted Hernandez on seven of eight charges after deliberating for 37 hours. He was convicted only on an illegal firearms charge.
The other charges against Hernandez included armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Hernandez was overcome with emotion as the verdict was read, moving his head from side to side, wiping his eyes and weeping.
Suffolk County district attorney Daniel Conley said: ‘We’re disappointed. The jury just didn’t see it our way.’
The decision came almost exactly two years after the former New England Patriots tight end was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player in June 2013.
The 2015 conviction cemented a spectacular fall from grace for Hernandez, who once had a $40million, five-year contract with the Patriots.
The team dropped Hernandez just hours after his arrest on June 26, 2013, nine days after Lloyd was found dead.
By KELLY MCLAUGHLIN and CHRIS SPARGO FOR DAILYMAIL.COM