Multiple news organizations in the Boston area are reporting that Aaron Hernandez was found dead with the Bible verse John 3:16 written in red on his forehead.
The verse, among the most quoted in the Christian Bible, says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
— WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston) April 19, 2017
Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell this morning at 3:05 a.m. in what prison officials described as an apparent suicide. He was incarcerated at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts when he died.
WBZ-TV is reporting that Hernandez may have also smoked synthetic marijuana before his death. Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, has insinuated that his death might not be a suicide, and has called for a full investigation.
Interestingly, his death will most likely wipe out his conviction in the murder of Odin Lloyd due to a legal doctrine known as “abatement ab initio.” Hernandez was serving a life sentence in that case without the possibility of parole, though an appeal was underway. Lloyd was killed June 17, 2013.
Hernandez’s death came four and a half days after he was found not guilty of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Those men had been gunned down outside a Boston nightclub in July 2012. Hernandez was convicted on a minor weapons possession charge, but the jury in that case acquitted him of seven more serious charges related to the deaths of the men.
During the recent trial, a tattoo artist testified that Hernandez requested a tattoo containing the phrase “God Forgives” written backwards on his body. The phrase would read correctly when viewed in a mirror, the tattoo artist said. Hernandez also requested a revolver with five bullets in its chamber. A full chamber would hold six bullets. Prosecutors alleged that de Abreu and Furtado were shot with a revolver and that five bullets were recovered from the scene.
Testimony in the case surrounded Alexander Bradley. Defense attorneys attacked Bradley as an untrustworthy drug dealer who was serving his own time in prison for shooting a nightclub in Hartford, Connecticut, in February 2014. Bradley had been granted immunity for agreeing to testify against Hernandez.
This is a breaking news story. We will update it accordingly.
[Editor’s Note: This article and the headline have been updated to clarify the writing on Hernandez’s forehead. Initial reports indicated that the verse was written in blood. Later reports indicated that the verse was written with “blood red marker.”]