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During Oxygen’s two-part documentary special “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” several shocking revelations were unearthed by the people who knew Hernandez best, including fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, defense attorney Jose Baez and college girlfriend Alyssa Anderson.
In 2013, Hernandez was set to become one of the greatest tight ends in football history, but his career with the New England Patriots came to a shocking halt after he was arrested in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. Hernandez's arrest and subsequent murder trial rocked the sports world, and in 2017, his harrowing suicide made national headlines.
Through never-before-seen interviews and startling disclosures, these are the five things we learned after watching “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered”:
1. The death of his father caused major turmoil.
During part one of Oxygen’s two-night special “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” reporters speculated that the former NFL player’s downfall was spurred by the death of his father, Dennis Hernandez.
In 2006, when Hernandez was still in high school, Dennis died unexpectedly during a routine hernia surgery. The loss came at a vital time in Hernandez’s football career, and his mother, Terri Hernandez, worried Aaron would lose his motivation without the influence of his father.
Hernandez, however, continued to dominate on the field and became a top prospect for college recruiters. At the time, he told a local newscaster, “I wasn’t number one tight end in the country and then he passed away, and I started to work harder and harder for him.”
Though Hernandez’s football future seemed to be lined up for success, his home life was in turmoil. Former Hartford Courant reporter Jenny Wilson told “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” that after Dennis’ death, Terri began having an affair with a married man, which caused Hernandez and his mother to become estranged.
According to The Boston Globe, Hernandez later admitted to media that he experimented with drugs following his father’s death.
2. He had several run-ins with the law in college.
In April 2007, while Hernandez was a freshman, he got into a fight at an off-campus restaurant, reported “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered.” After refusing to settle his tab, Hernandez punched the restaurant manager in the head and burst his eardrum.
Cops arrived on the scene and recommended Hernandez be charged with felony battery. Hernandez received a deferred prosecution for the incident.
During the fall of 2007, Hernandez was questioned by police about a Gainesville shooting that injured two men. According to police reports, the shooting took place after a necklace-snatching incident occurred inside a nightclub.
In addition to run-ins with police, Hernandez experienced drama on the football team as well. During his sophomore year, he was briefly suspended for “an undisclosed violation of team rules.” By his junior year, Hernandez admitted he had failed a drug test and tested positive for marijuana.
3. There was a ton of video evidence.
When police searched Hernandez’s home, they confiscated video surveillance from the home’s security cameras, which helped investigators establish a timeline for the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.
The day of Lloyd’s murder, footage showed Hernandez leaving his North Attleborough home at 1:09 AM in a rented silver Nissan Altima with friends Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz. The trio then stopped at a gas station, where a security camera recorded Hernandez buying blue cotton candy Bubblicious gum.
It was the same type of gum that investigators found attached to a shell casing in the Altima days later. The security footage also caught Ortiz carrying a white towel, which was found at the crime scene.
At 2:32 AM, an outdoor surveillance camera captured the Altima picking up Lloyd outside his house in Boston. At 3:15 AM, another security camera recorded Hernandez’s car driving into the industrial park where Lloyd was killed.
Around the same time, Lloyd exchanged ominous texts with his sister:
Odin Lloyd (3:07 AM): "Did you see who I am with?"
Odin Lloyd (3:11 AM): "Hello?"
Sister (3:19 AM): "My was phone dead. Who?"
Odin Lloyd (3:22 AM): "NFL."
Odin Lloyd (3:23 AM): "Just so you know."
According to investigators, Lloyd was shot just minutes later.
Surveillance footage then showed the Altima pulling into Hernandez’s driveway. Only Hernandez, Wallace and Ortiz made it back to the house. The timeline investigators created based on the security footage was also corroborated by phone records and cell tower information.
4. Hernandez’s college girlfriend said he was molested as a child.
Alyssa Anderson told producers of “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” that she and Hernandez developed a “really, really strong relationship” while they were attending The University of Florida. Though they decided to break up when Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010, the two remained on good terms. Anderson even reached out to Hernandez when she heard he had been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Lloyd.
“When I originally heard Aaron got in trouble, I wrote him a letter,” said Anderson. “That started kind of a back-and-forth for the next couple years.”
During her interview with “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” Anderson claimed the letters became more revealing as his legal troubles mounted.
“Towards the end of his first trial into the second trial, the letters became more intense,” explained Anderson. “He did open up about some of the struggles he had gone through as a kid. He admitted to being molested as a kid, but he never dealt with it. And it led to issues in his sexuality.”
5. Hernandez’s defense attorney said he disclosed his sexuality.
Two attorneys from Hernandez’s defense team — Jose Baez and George Leontire — told “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” that during Hernandez’s double homicide trial, prosecutors were looking to call a witness to testify to the fact that Hernandez was gay.
Hernandez had been charged in connection to the 2012 shooting death of two men.
“The prosecution was intending to introduce evidence that the shooting occurred — somehow — because Aaron was conflicted about being gay,” Leontire said. “Because of this conflict, it caused him to be enraged, and somehow that was connected to the shootings of the victims, even though Aaron didn’t know the victims.”
Lead attorney Baez also told “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” that the prosecution was looking to speak with Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée, so they could inform her of the witness testimony before she found out in court. According to Baez, the prosecution was hoping that by disclosing this information to Jenkins, she would turn on Hernandez and effectively ruin his defense.
When Baez spoke with Hernandez about the possibility of his sexuality being discussed during the trial, he was “very concerned” about how it would affect Jenkins.
Leontire echoed this sentiment, saying, “His biggest concern about his sexuality was how it would impact Shayanna and somehow diminish — in her eyes — the tremendous love that he felt for her. Here’s a man who happened to be gay who loved a woman.”
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