That new Aaron Hernandez series on Netflix has generated a lot of buzz. It also has a lot of people asking factual questions about his two murder trials, prison suicide, and personal life.
Here’s a brief primer for you to reference while you binge-watch the series. These answers are based on Boston Globe coverage — culminating in a six-part podcast and print series — that began when Hernandez joined the New England Patriots in 2010.
1] Who was this guy, anyway?
Hernandez was a former star tight end for the Patriots who, prior to his shocking 2013 arrest for murder, was expected to be a key contributor in a potent Tom Brady-led offense for many years.
2] Who was he convicted of killing?
A Bristol Superior Court jury convicted Hernandez in April 2015 of first-degree murder for the June 2013 fatal shooting of Odin L Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player from Dorchester who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiance at the time of his death. Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His conviction was vacated after his suicide in 2017, but the state’s highest court reinstated it April 2019.
3] Did you say fiance?
Hernandez at the time of his arrest was engaged to Shayanna Jenkins, the mother of his daughter. Bristol County prosecutors charged Jenkins with perjury in connection with Lloyd’s death but dropped that charge after Jenkins testified during the Lloyd trial. She told jurors that the day after the killing of Lloyd, she removed a box from the couple’s North Attleboro home at Hernandez’s direction and discarded it. Authorities believed the box contained the murder weapon, which was never found.
Jenkins remained loyal to Hernandez even after his conviction.
4] Was he gay?
Hernandez’s high school quarterback, Dennis SanSoucie, told the Boston Globe Spotlight team in 2018 that he and Hernandez had a a now-and-then sexual relationship that began in middle school and lasted through high school. SanSoucie also discusses the relationship in the Netflix series.
And George Leontire, a former lawyer for Hernandez, told the Spotlight team that while incarcerated, the once-promising athlete told his mother he was gay.
5] Who else was he charged with killing?
Hernandez was indicted in 2014 on two additional murder counts for the fatal drive-by shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in July 2012. A Suffolk Superior Court jury acquitted Hernandez at trial in April 2017, but he hanged himself in his cell days later.
6] Was he charged with any other crimes?
Hernandez was also charged in Suffolk County with witness intimidation for allegedly shooting Alexander Bradley, his former friend and weed supplier, in the face in Florida in 2013 in an effort to silence him about the Boston double slaying. Hernandez was acquitted of that charge, too.
7] Was Hernandez sued, in addition to the criminal charges?
8] What were the motives for the killings?
Bristol County prosecutors did not spell out a motive for Lloyd’s murder at trial. Around 1 a.m. on June 15, 2013, two days before the killing, Lloyd bought Hernandez a drink at a club in Boston’s Theatre District. Witnesses described it as an ordinary evening, but prosecutors said something Lloyd did or said made Hernandez angry — exactly what has never been proven.
Suffolk County prosecutors alleged that Hernandez killed de Abreu and Furtado after de Abreu inadvertently spilled a drink on him at a club. Hernandez’s lawyers claimed that Bradley, who drove the vehicle Hernandez was traveling in at the time of the shootings, killed the victims over a drug deal. No eyewitnesses in the club other than Bradley testified to seeing the spilled drink, and no evidence of any drug deal with de Abreu and Furtado ever surfaced.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.