By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang and was disciplined for having gang paraphernalia, according to newly released documents related to the investigation into his prison suicide.
A death report released Friday lists the Bloods under Hernandez’s gang profile and says Hernandez was disciplined for having “STG” paraphernalia. In prison, “STG” stands for Security Threat Group, a euphemism for gangs.
Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, was found April 19 hanging from a bed sheet in his cell in a maximum-security prison, where he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder. His suicide came days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double slaying.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. released the report in response to a public records request from The Associated Press.
A separate court filing by prosecutors included excerpts from a suicide note left by Hernandez to his fiancee.
“You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to live life and know I’m always with you,” Hernandez wrote.
In the handwritten note, Hernandez calls Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez a “true angel” and “the definition of God’s love.” He urges her to “tell my story fully, but never think anything besides how much I love you.”
The excerpts were included in a filing prosecutors made as part of their opposition to a motion by Hernandez’s appellate attorneys to vacate his conviction under a state legal principle that says convictions can be erased if a defendant dies before his appeal is heard, as Hernandez did. A judge has scheduled a hearing Tuesday.
The documents released by Early say that while Hernandez was housed in a Bristol County jail awaiting trial in the 2013 case he was disciplined for five violations: threatening to kill a correction officer and his family; submitting a urine sample that tested positive for a painkiller; committing an aggravated assault; refusing to obey an order; and possessing gang paraphernalia.
Separate reports released Thursday by state police and the Department of Correction offer insight into Hernandez’s final days.
Interviews with inmates show Hernandez was excited about his acquittal in the double slaying and didn’t appear to have thoughts of suicide.
“They stated that he was positive and even happily emotional, which was not usual of Hernandez,” the Department of Correction report states.
An inmate friend said he was shocked by Hernandez’s suicide because he seemed so upbeat after his acquittal.
“Since Friday’s verdict he had been talking about the NFL and going back to play even if it wasn’t with the Pats,” the inmate said, according to the report. “He talked about his daughter and spending time with her.”
The state police report said Hernandez wrote “John 3:16,” a reference to a Bible verse, in ink on his forehead and in blood on a cell wall. The verse says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
A Bible was nearby, open to John 3:16, with the verse marked by a drop of blood.
Some inmates said Hernandez had become increasingly spiritual during his time in prison.
Hernandez’s lawyers in his double-murder trial have said he showed no signs he planned to kill himself. They have pledged to conduct an independent investigation into his death.
The Department of Correction released prison records showing Hernandez was cited a dozen times for disciplinary issues, including physical altercations with other inmates, possessing a homemade weapon, getting a tattoo and having another inmate in his cell. Sanctions for those violations included the loss of his phone, gym and yard privileges.
One report says Hernandez was “insolent” toward a correction officer and used a racial epithet after he was cited for tampering with a lock.
“This place ain’t (expletive) to me. I’ll run this place and keep running (expletive). Prison ain’t (expletive) to me,” he said, according to the report.
Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, played three seasons for the Patriots before he was released by the team hours after his arrest in June 2013 in the killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.