Funeral set for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 24, 2017 9:14 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The funeral of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will take place on Monday, five days after he was found hanged by a bed sheet in a Massachusetts prison in what state officials have ruled a suicide.

Hernandez had been a rising star in the National Football League with a $41 million contract when he was arrested in June 2013 and charged with murdering an acquaintance in an industrial park not far from the Patriots' stadium.

He was serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole after being found guilty of that murder when he hanged himself in a prison cell, according to state officials. His death occurred just days after his acquittal of a separate 2012 double murder.

The funeral will be in Bristol, Connecticut, where Hernandez grew up.

"We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time," the family said in a statement ahead of the funeral.

The lawyer who successfully defended the 27-year-old former athlete in the double-murder trial has vowed to conduct his own investigation into the circumstances of Hernandez's death at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, west of Boston.

Three handwritten notes were found near a Bible in Hernandez's cell, although their contents have not been made public.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)