SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Family, friends, and members of Aaron Hernandez’s legal team are still in shock, after the former New England Patriots player and convicted killer was found hanged in his prison cell Wednesday.
Gary Stone of West Springfield told 22News he couldn’t believe the apparent suicide came just days after he was seen wiping tears from his eyes, following a double murder acquittal. “I was shocked a little bit. I guess his daughter was also there at the court when he was there. He was blowing kisses to her, she was blowing kisses to him, I don’t know why he would take his life after that,” he said.
Why Aaron Hernandez would have committed suicide remains a mystery, but may represent a larger problem. Massachusetts has the 4th highest rate for inmate suicides in the country, which is about twice the national average, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Heather White of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention explained to 22News, inmates like Aaron Hernandez are usually going through difficult transition periods. “Someone who is suicidal is feeling some hopelessness, some despair, and maybe feelings of being a burden to their family. So if you think about someone who’s awaiting trial, or awaiting sentencing, those trials would really put them at a higher risk at that time,” she said.
White also said while the trial may have related to his death, it likely wasn’t the only cause. Suicide is usually the result of several factors.