Prison official: Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs self in cell

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Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, shown reacting to his double murder acquittal last week, has died in an apparent suicide after being found hanged in his jail cell. The former NFL player was serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. | Stephan Savoia, Pool photo, distributed by the Associated Press

MILFORD, Mass. — A prison official says former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has hung himself in a jail cell and has been pronounced dead at Massachusetts hospital.

Hernandez, 27, who played for the New England Patriots, was serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister.

The jury in the Lloyd case deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before convicting Hernandez of first-degree murder in April 2015.

Hernandez last week was acquitted on murder charges in a different case. He was accuseed of killing two men after they left a Boston nightclub.

Prosecutors said the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were fueled by Hernandez’s anger over a spilled drink at the club.

Hernandez denied killing the men. He was convicted on a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon.

After that acquittal, his attorney had called Hernandez is a “very good young man who happened to hang out with a very bad guy.”

After six days of deliberations, the jury found Hernandez not guilty of first-degree murder in the killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado but convicted him of unlawful possession of a gun.

Hernandez, 27, grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012. About six weeks after Furtado and de Abreu were killed, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed. He was cut from the team shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd’s killing in June 2013. He was not charged in the 2012 killings until 2014.

Hernandez’s defense team in the double murder trial included Jose Baez, known for winning an acquittal for Florida mom Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter. Baez, dealing with a medial issue, wasn’t in court Friday.

Hernandez’s conviction in Lloyd’s killing will automatically be reviewed by the state Supreme Judicial Court.

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