(AP) – Aaron Hernandez’s death in prison has been officially ruled a suicide. That determination comes from the district attorney’s office in Worcester County, Massachusetts.
Authorities say investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible inside the maximum-security prison cell where the ex-NFL star was found hanging early Wednesday.
They said Thursday there was no sign of a struggle and that the former New England Patriots tight end was alone. Investigators say Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, blocked access to his cell from the inside by jamming cardboard into the door tracks.
They say he was locked in his cell at about 8 p.m. and that no one entered until a guard saw him just after 3 a.m. and forced his way in to try to save Hernandez.
Now that that’s not in question, officials say the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center in accordance with the wishes of Hernandez’s family.
The center is a leader in research into the effects of concussions on the brain — something the NFL has been preoccupied with in recent years.
Earlier Thursday, Hernandez’s lawyer Jose Baez had accused the medical examiner of “illegally” holding the brain.