Metro

Hernandez funeral set for Monday in his Conn. hometown

Aaron Hernandez.

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Aaron Hernandez.

A private funeral for convicted killer and former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been set for Monday afternoon in his hometown of Bristol, Conn., according to a statement from the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.

The service will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the O’Brien Funeral Home.

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Hernandez’s body arrived at the funeral home early Saturday afternoon, said Laura Soll , spokeswoman for the funeral directors association, in a brief telephone interview.

Hernandez, 27, was found hanging in his prison cell early Wednesday morning just a few days after being acquitted of charges in a 2012 South End double murder. Hernandez already was serving a life sentence for the 2013 first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd.

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Hernandez’s family asked for privacy in the statement from the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.

“The family of Aaron Hernandez wishes to thank all of you for the thoughtful expressions of condolences. 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 statement read.

Attendance at the funeral will be restricted to friends and family by invitation.

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Hernandez’s suicide — after a life marked by quick ascent to Patriots fame and an even quicker fall from grace — shook residents of Bristol, where Hernandez had spent his childhood.

“He was a hero at one point, everyone looked up to him. Now, it is just sad,” barber JoseCartagena told the Globe on Wednesday.

Hernandez used to go to his company’s barbershops throughout high school and even after he was drafted by the Patriots, Cartagena said.

“He came in here as a young dude and he was humble,” he said. “He got himself into some situations, but he always showed respect for the community he came from, from Bristol.”

Hernandez was an honor student in Bristol schools and shattered Connecticut high school records for pass receivers.

But his home life was rocky.

His mother, Terri Hernandez, twice turned to the courts for bankruptcy protection and when Aaron was in sixth grade, she began taking bets for an illegal gambling organization. She was eventually charged and an accomplice was convicted of felonies, but the outcome of her case is not available under Connecticut law.

Aaron Hernandez was close with his father, Dennis Hernandez, who was known on the streets of Bristol as The King. The elder Hernandez was a high school sports star and running back at the University of Connecticut. When he died in 2006 after a routine hernia operation, Aaron Hernandez was shattered.

Though rumors that Aaron Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang have circulated, officials have not pinned down the facts. At least one high school official — Hernandez’s coach — has said he worried about the young man’s behavior.

But Hernandez kept his grades up and earned enough credits to leave high school for college midway through his senior year, as the top-rated prep tight end in the nation.

Hector Ojeda, who works at Typhoon Car Wash in Bristol, said Wednesday that everyone at the car wash and the nearby gas station had been talking about the recent trial and Hernandez’s death. One customer showed him a photo that he had taken with Hernandez.

“It’s a small town, it is just shocking,” Ojeda said. “It’s hard to believe. He was a decent guy, that’s what people said.”

Bob Hohler and Milton J. Valencia contributed to this report. Olivia Arnold can be reached at olivia.arnold@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @olivia_arnold12. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.
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