Homicide

Aaron Hernandez's final letter to fiancee before his suicide released

The last note that former NFL star Aaron Hernandez and convicted killer left for his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, before he killed himself in his prison cell last month, was released Friday. 

The note was one of the three left in Hernandez's cell. In part of the letter, Hernandez called Jenkins his "soul-mate" he would always love, NBC Boston reported

The note read: "Shay, you have always been my soul-mate and i want you to live life and know I'm always with you. I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know you are an angel - literally! We split into two to come change the world! Your characteristics [sic] is that of a true angel and the definition of God's love! 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! I love you! Let (redacted) know how much I love her! Look after (redacted) and (redacted) for me - those are my boys. (YOU'RE RICH) I knew I loved you = Savage Garden." 

"I knew I Loved You" is a reference to the 1999 song by Australian pop duo Savage Garden. 

The note was released ahead of next Tuesday's court hearing during which a judge is set to determine whether the ex-New England Patriot's 2015 murder conviction should be erased. 

Under a long-standing Massachusetts legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard, according to the Associated Press. 

"For all intent and practical purposes, Aaron Hernandez will die an innocent man, but the court of public opinion may think differently," Martin Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, said. 

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Corrections officers found Hernandez hanging from a bedsheet in his cell at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center just after 3 a.m. on April 19. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was asphyxia by hanging, the state medical examiner's office said. The manner of death was suicide. 

Investigators found the words "John: 3:16" written on his forehead with ink and on the wall of the cell in a substance "consistent with blood," Fox 25 Boston reported.

A Bible was left open to the verse, which reads: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

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Hernandez left handwritten notes in his prison cell, one addressed to Jenkins Hernandez and the other to their 4-year-old daughter, according to NBC Boston. The third note was allegedly addressed to another inmate. 

The disgraced football star died five days after a jury acquitted him in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men. Prosecutors claimed Hernandez fatally shot the men after one accidentally spilled a drink on him at a Boston nightclub. He was already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Jenkins.

Defense attorney Jose Baez said after Hernandez's death that his client never showed signs that he was suicidal. 

"There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible," Baez said. "Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death."

Officials at the prison also said there was no indication he was considering suicide -- otherwise, they said they would have transferred him to a mental health unit.