BOSTON — The death of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez Wednesday at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center has been officially ruled a suicide, according to the Worcester County District Attorney.
The 27-year-old Hernandez was found hanging from a bedsheet Wednesday in his prison cell in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts. He was serving a life sentence for the 2013 slaying of a onetime friend.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry N. Nields performed an autopsy and concluded that the manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging.
"An investigation into the death by the State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office and Department of Correction investigators found cardboard jammed into the door tracks of his single-inmate cell to impede entry into the cell," a statement released Thursday said. "There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging."
Hernandez was locked in his cell about 8 p.m. and no one entered the cell until a correction officer observed him at 3:03 a.m. and forced his way through the door, the DA said.
Investigators said they found three hand-written notes next to a Bible in the cell.
"Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes," the statement said. "The center studies a progressive degenerative brain disease found in some athletes who have experienced repetitive brain trauma."
Earlier Thursday, Hernandez's laywer Jose Baez said the medical examiner was "illegally" keeping his brain.
Hernandez died five days after a jury acquitted him in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men whom prosecutors alleged he gunned down after one accidentally spilled a drink on him at a Boston nightclub.
Sources told FOX25 that “John 3:16” was written on his forehead and the wall of his prison cell.
The Bible passage reads: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Law enforcement sources also told WBZ that investigators are looking into the possibility that Hernandez may have smoked synthetic marijuana called K2 Tuesday night.