Ex-NFL star gave no hint of suicide plan, fiancée tells TV interviewer
Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez gave no indication that he planned to kill himself in his prison cell in his final phone call with his fiancée, she said in a television interview to be broadcast on Monday.
“I spoke to him the night before they said this incident happened … there was no indication at all of such events,” Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez said in an interview with CBS television’s “Dr. Phil” show.
The former National Football League athlete hanged himself last month in a Massachusetts prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder. His death shocked his family as it came just days after a jury had cleared him of a separate double-murder charge.
Jenkins-Hernandez said she talked with him on the phone hours before his death and that their conversation was upbeat, with Hernandez talking of some day coming home.
“I remember him saying, ‘Babe, I’ve got to go, they’re shutting the doors.’ I honestly don’t’ think we said ‘I love you to each other.’ That was it,” Jenkins-Hernandez told longtime talk show host Phil McGraw, in a clip of the interview released online. “It was a normal conversation.”
The interview will be broadcast over two days, with the second half shown on Tuesday, CBS Corp said.
Hernandez had a $41 million contract with one of the NFL’s top franchises when he was arrested in June 2013 and charged with murdering acquaintance Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez was convicted of that murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.
A Massachusetts judge last week overturned that conviction, citing a state legal principle that allows a verdict to be vacated if the defendant dies before he has exhausted the appeals process. Prosecutors plan to appeal that decision.
Attorneys for the Hernandez family are conducting their own investigation into his death at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts.
Jenkins-Hernandez said she was suspicious of the state’s conclusion that Hernandez killed himself.
A Department of Corrections report found that Hernandez had hanged himself with a bed sheet, had spread shampoo all over the floor of his cell and jammed the door with cardboard.
“I believe there is some uncounted time. I don’t think that things were done properly,” Jenkins-Hernandez said. “I feel like he could have been saved or something could have been done or whatever the case may have been, I feel like someone was in the wrong somewhere.”
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bernadette Baum)