It’s tough to make heads or tails of Aaron Hernandez’s death.
If Hernandez indeed committed suicide, which is what law enforcement officials announced Wednesday, we’re left to wonder why the New England Patriots tight end killed himself just five days after being acquitted in a double murder case. What drove Hernandez over the edge?
Perhaps it was the realization he still faced life without the possibility of parole in prison for being convicted of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Or perhaps it was heartbreak stemming from seeing his daughter in court last week and knowing he wouldn’t be there for her as she grew up.
Simply put, we might never know, although such an emotional reaction certainly would fly right in the face of what Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson learned to know about Hernandez during the former football star’s nearly two-year stint at the Bristol County House of Corrections.
“I’ve always sort of known Aaron Hernandez to be somebody who’s been able to completely control — almost like a mental trap — things that he let in and let out,” Hodgson said Wednesday on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan,” per WEEI.com. “I’m wondering, and of course I’m not a psychologist — I don’t have any background in it — I do think he had some sociopathic tendencies.
“For all of the time he was here, he never showed much in the way of emotion. It was always sort of very controlled. He was controlled about everything. He had a magnetic personality and knew how to use it to manipulate and get things. But more importantly, he just never really was allowing himself to feel any sort of emotion.”
Hernandez rarely showed emotion in court, which is why it was somewhat surprising to see him break down in tears last week after being found not guilty on two counts of murder in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. It’s clear Hernandez lived a troubled life, though, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether the verdict was too much for him to handle, for one reason or another.
“I just wonder if when that jury, because I remember saying to the special sheriff here when I saw the verdict, ‘I’m shocked to see him showing any emotion on this verdict,’ ” Hodgson said, per WEEI.com. “I wonder, and there’s a million theories, I wonder if in fact when that jury acquitted him, that that somehow created a vulnerability in that mental trap, whereby for maybe once in a long time, a group of people really believed in him or believed in the outcome of that verdict, which was a positive thing for him, and that may have been something that just — who knows.”
Hodgson also described Hernandez as a manipulative person who was able to use his personality to make people believe he was somebody different. That makes sense, given that Hernandez fooled the Patriots into believing he was worthy of a $40 million contract rather than him being a soon-to-be convicted killer.
Thumbnail photo via The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports Images