In a careful longhand note, Aaron Hernandez assured his fiancee that his death was “the Almighty’s plan,” urging her to “tell my story fully” and declaring, “You’re Rich.”
An excerpt from the letter, one of three the former New England Patriots star and convicted killer left in his cell when he hanged himself last month, was made public Friday in a court filing from the office of Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III.
Quinn is citing the letter in his argument that Hernandez’ conviction should be left standing.
Hernandez wrote the note to Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who stood by him through two murder trials.
“Shay, you have always been my soul-mate, and I want you to live life and know I’m always with you,” Hernandez wrote to Jenkins-Hernandez, who is also the mother of his daughter. “I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know you are an angel — eternally!”
He asked her to “tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you. This was the Supreme’s, the Almighty’s plan, not mine!” He signed off with a reference to the Australian pop band Savage Garden and underlined the words “You’re Rich’’ twice.
The excerpt contained in court filings was undated, and it is unclear when Hernandez wrote the note.
Quinn’s office submitted the document Friday as a supplement to their filings in a pending legal dispute over whether Hernandez’s conviction for killing Odin Lloyd in 2013 should be vacated. Massachusetts law generally allows for a conviction to be voided if a defendant dies before an appeal is decided.
Quinn’s office contends Hernandez forfeited his rights by choosing to end his life in his cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, so his murder conviction should stand. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court.
Jose Baez, a lawyer for Hernandez, blasted the release of the letter.
In a statement issued late Friday, Baez called the release unnecessary. “It’s clearly amateur hour,’’ he said of the district attorney’s office. “Instead of protecting victims, they are punishing and torturing the Hernandez family who need to grieve.”
A spokesman for Quinn declined to comment Friday when asked why prosecutors included Hernandez’s note to Jenkins-Hernandez in their pleadings.
One legal expert, who is not involved in the case, said prosecutors may use it to support their claim that Hernandez was fully in control of his actions when he took his own life.
“My best guess is, and it’s strictly a guess, they think that shows that he was thinking rationally,” said Robert M. Bloom, a Boston College Law professor.
Hernandez hanged himself in his cell with a bedsheet on April 19, five days after a Suffolk County jury acquitted him of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in 2012 in Boston.
Hernandez was already serving a life sentence for Lloyd’s murder. Massachusetts law requires that a life sentence be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Judicial Court. That appeal was pending when Hernandez took his life.
The families of all three murder victims have wrongful death lawsuits that are pending against Hernandez’s estate.
Douglas K. Sheff, a lawyer for Lloyd’s family, said Hernandez’s letter to his fiancee raises questions about potential assets that could be recovered.
“It makes us all the more curious as to what Aaron Hernandez did with his money and when,” Sheff said. “We are looking forward to conducting discovery in order to attempt to learn more about that.”
He said Lloyd’s family members are “strong, they are faithful, and they are committed to seeing justice done.”
The release of the letter Friday came one day after state prison officials and the Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office released documents related to the investigation of Hernandez’s death.
Additional documents released by Early’s office Friday raised the possibility of Hernandez’s gang involvement. In a category in his death report headlined “Gang Profile,” the phrase “Bloods Street Gang member,” appeared twice after the words “Area Frequented.”
The Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, which initially housed Hernandez after his June 2013 arrest, had studied Hernandez’s tattoos for evidence of gang affiliation but no conclusive evidence was found.
Documents released this week also shed light on Hernandez’s time in custody, his sometimes violent altercations with inmates and staff — including an alleged threat on the life of a corrections officer — and his transition to a Scripture-quoting prisoner who talked about the reincarnation of souls and even expressed a fleeting hope of returning to the NFL after his acquittal.
State Police documents said no drugs were found in Hernandez’s system after his death. A prison classification report said he enrolled in a 12-step program behind bars and attended Protestant services.
In addition, the enigmatic inmate went by a number of nicknames, including Boom, Rokk Boy, Double A, AA, Big Nose, Chico, A Money, and Can’t Get Right, the documents said.
He also appeared to turn to music for respite from the daily grind of prison life. Hernandez paid to download to an audio player during the final weeks of his life, including tracks by Rihanna, The Weeknd, Drake, and rapper PartyNextDoor.
Hernandez downloaded more than 900 audio files while incarcerated, documents show.
He was found hanging from a window in his cell around 3 a.m. on April 19, and one of his lawyers previously said Hernandez spoke with Jenkins-Hernandez by phone until about 8 p.m. the previous night.
The fallen football star, once cheered by fans in a sports-crazed region who later puzzled over his motives for committing acts that led to his undoing, gave no indication to his fiancee during this call that he would kill himself in a matter of hours, according to correction documents.
“Called [name redacted] at 7:48 p.m. and it is reported they were discussing an upcoming visit,” the documents said. “It is reported that he made 7 calls on the evening prior to his death and all content was future oriented and did not elicit any concerns for safety, even in retrospect.”
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.