Aaron Hernandez left note in blood on cell wall before suicide

FILE - In this Friday, April 14, 2017, file photo, Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez turns to look toward his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez as he reacts to his double murder acquittal at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Hernandez’s family is planning a private funeral for the former NFL star in his hometown in Bristol, Conn. A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association said Saturday, April 22, that the service is set for Monday, April 24. The former New England Patriots tight end was found hanged in his cell in a maximum-security prison in Massachusetts early Wednesday, April 19. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was excited about his acquittal in a 2012 double slaying and did not appear to have thoughts of suicide in the days before he killed himself in his prison cell, according to a report from Massachusetts prison officials.

The state Department of Correction report released Thursday also said there were no drugs in Hernandez’s system when the former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself at the Souza-Baranowski prison on April 19 while serving a life sentence in a 2013 murder.

Hernandez, 27, was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell just five days after he was acquitted in the killings of two men in Boston in July 2012.

This photo released on Thursday, May 4, 2017, in a report by the Massachusetts Department of Correction shows a Bible open to John 3:16, with the verse marked in blood, found in the cell of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez after he was found hanged in his cell on April 19 at the Souza-Baranowski prison in Shirley, Mass. Hernandez was serving a life sentence in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, who had been dating his fiancee’s sister. (Massachusetts Department of Correction via AP)

The report described interviews with inmates who said that in the days before his death, Hernandez appeared happy about his acquittal and seemed to be looking forward to the future.

“They stated that he was positive and even happily emotional, which was not usual of Hernandez,” the report states.

An inmate who claimed to be one of Hernandez’s closest friends 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 same inmate said.

“There was absolutely no indication he would do anything like that.”

A separate report released Thursday by state police said Hernandez wrote “John 3:16,” a reference to a biblical passage, in ink on his forehead and in blood on the wall of his cell. The Bible 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.”

Hernandez’s right middle finger had a fresh cut and there was blood on adjacent fingers. There also appeared to be a large circular blood mark on each of his feet. A Bible was nearby, open to John 3:16, with the verse marked in blood.

Some inmates said Hernandez had become increasingly spiritual during his time in prison.

“They felt that his suicide had been some sort of religious message,” the Department of Correction report said.

The report also said Hernandez knew about Massachusetts case law that says a prisoner’s convictions can be erased if he dies before his appeal has been heard, as Hernandez did.

One inmate said Hernandez had recently mentioned that legal principle to him.

“The rumor was that if an inmate has an open appeal on his case and dies in prison, he is acquitted of his charge and will be deemed not guilty,” the report said.

Hernandez’s lawyers in his double-murder trial have also said Hernandez showed no signs he planned to kill himself, and they have pledged to conduct an independent investigation into Hernandez’s death. The defense team also blasted state officials for leaks to the media of some of the information contained in the reports.

The Department of Correction also released prison records showing Hernandez was cited a dozen times for disciplinary issues, including physical altercations with other inmates, possessing a homemade cigarette and lighter, 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, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in that case and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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