Bible verse written on Aaron Hernandez's forehead

Not since O.J. Simpson has there been a more polarizing figure in professional football than Aaron Hernandez. A jury, however, found Hernandez not guilty on murder charge Friday after six days of deliberations. Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The former New England Patriots tight end was discovered by guards shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, Correction Department spokesman Christopher Fallon told KABC-TV. He was pronounced dead an hour later at UMass Memorial-Health Alliance Hospital. "Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window", read the statement.

Hernandez had been housed in a single cell in a general population unit at the maximum-security state prison in Shirley. No suicide note was found at the scene. An autopsy will be performed by the medical examiner's office in Boston to determine his cause and manner of death, according to the Worcester District Attorney's Office.

But officials said the brain will now be released to Boston University's CTE Center in accordance with the wishes of Hernandez's family.

"Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence" in an appeal of the 2013 verdict, Baez said. "Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death". When asked if he accepted the ruling, Baez said, "We'll accept the determination after an investigation is complete".

Baez has said that he doubts the official story of Hernandez death, and will be conducting his own investigation.

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The suicide stunned those who knew Hernandez. "I had never been involved in a case with so much reasonable doubt".

The legal principle is called "abatement ab initio", or "from the beginning". As a result, Hernandez could be legally cleared. This means evidence submitted during Hernandez's criminal trial can not be used in civil trials against his estate.

Investigators suggested Hernandez shot Lloyd to keep him quiet about the two earlier killings.

"If these convictions are ultimately vacated, will his child and his wife be able to recover either some of the bonus that's still due to him under the Patriots contract or under any of his pension benefits that the National Football League might owe him?"

Hernandez had a $41 million contract with one of the league's top franchises when he was arrested at his home in June 2013 and charged with the fatal shooting.

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