BOSTON — Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's letters he wrote before he killed himself last year were published Saturday by The New York Post.
Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass., penned letters to his lawyer, Jose Baez, 48, his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, 29, and his now 5-year-old daughter Avielle Jenkins-Hernandez before taking his own life on April 19, 2017.
The 27-year-old former NFL star, who played three seasons with the Patriots before being arrested in 2016 for the murder of Odin Lloyd, left three notes written on ruled paper which revealed his final moments before he hanged himself inside his cell.
Jose Baez, Hernandez's lawyer and friend, documents the last year of his client's life in his upcoming book "Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez", set to be released on Tuesday.
Baez told the New York Post there was no indication in the letters that Hernandez had been contemplating suicide, saying, "Nothing in [it] suggests Aaron was thinking of killing himself. He talks about contacting artists in the future and that if I can’t help him, he’ll figure something out. It’s a sweet letter I’ll always cherish. That was the real Aaron.”
Hernandez mentions contacting artists such as Meek Mill and Jay-Z, who he says helped him through "tough times" in prison, saying he wanted to send his respects "to a few of the real ones out there."
To Baez, Hernandez wrote:
In the note addressed to his daughter, Avielle, Hernandez says he wanted her to "never fear" him but to love him eternally.
Baez speculates the last lines of the letter to Avielle are books he read while he was incarcerated, saying, "These are books that I am guessing meant something to him during his time in prison. It’s not uncommon for people who go through hard times to reach back into their faith. And he had people who supported him in his faith and [sent] books to him. He ordered books from the library.”
In his letter to Shayanna, Hernandez is just as ominous as he is in his letter to their daughter.
“I don’t believe he was in sound mind in doing this,” Baez said of Hernandez’s notes to his daughter and fiancée. “I have mixed emotions when I read these notes. In one context I’m reading them as his lawyer while investigating his death, but in another, he’s a young man I knew, liked and cared about. He had a serious brain disease. We need more awareness of it, or we’re going to see more suicides.”
Hernandez addresses the letter to Shayanna by calling her "Shay," a nickname Baez says others would refer to her as but never Hernandez, saying he usually called her "baby" or "babe."
In the letter, Hernandez asks Shayanna to look after Jano and Eddie, his cousin's young children whose mother passed away and mentions the couple's song, "I Knew I Loved You," by Savage Garden, something Baez says was very meaningful to his client.
The letter reads:
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