Three suicide notes that former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez allegedly left in his cell before killing himself last week were handed over to his family Monday, the Worcester County District Attorney's office confirmed.
A lawyer for Hernandez's fiancée filed a motion earlier Monday in Bristol County Superior Court seeking the release of the letters, which the district attorney had previously refused to release to the family.
"The family has the right, during this grieving process, to know their loved one's final thoughts," George Leontire, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez's lawyer said.
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Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the letters were emailed to Leontire on Monday after Judge Thomas McGuire ordered their release. Jarvey confirmed one of the letters was addressed to Jenkins-Hernandez and another to the couple's daughter.
The third letter was left for Kyle Kennedy, Hernandez's friend and fellow inmate, Kennedy's lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Lawrence F. Army Jr. said his client has not yet seen the letter, but will request that it be turned over to Kennedy as soon as possible.
“My client is obviously saddened by the loss of his friend, Aaron Hernandez,” Army said. He said the two were not cellmates.
Army said he met with Kennedy briefly on Monday, and his client is “no longer on suicide watch,” though he was moved to a protective unit after Hernandez’s death “as a standard precaution.” He said he will be meeting more with his client in the coming days, and will provide updates as the case develops. “For now, we will have no further comment.”
Kennedy’s family also issued a statement Monday, saying their thoughts are with Hernandez’s family and their son, and asking for privacy.
Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for murder and was acquitted in two other killings just days before he hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his cell window at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, in the early morning hours of April 19.
Investigators said Hernandez blocked access to his cell from the inside by jamming cardboard into the door tracks. They said there were no signs of a struggle and Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.
Authorities said investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in Hernandez's cell.
Additonally, law enforcement sources tell NBC Boston that Hernandez was found with the words "John 3:16" written on his forehead. The Bible passage reads "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Jenkins-Hernandez's lawyer are seeking to preserve records related to Hernandez's death, including Hernandez's prison cell video recordings and all of his property, medical and mental health records.
Jenkins-Hernandez has also filed court papers indicating that she may sue over the supervision Hernandez received while in prison. The filing argues that authorities had a legal duty to provide safety and protection from personal injury to inmates in state custody.
Hernandez was locked in his cell around 8 p.m. on March 18 and no one entered until a correction officer observed him around 3 a.m. the following day and forced his way in, according to investigators.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text HOME to 741741 for a Crisis Text Line.