Hernandez's body will be brought back to CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Hernandez's body will be brought back to CT

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Aaron Hernandez during a court appearance. (CNN) Aaron Hernandez during a court appearance. (CNN)
BRISTOL, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Details about what led up to the death of a Bristol native and former New England Patriots player continue to unfold.

The agent and legal team of 27-year-old Aaron Hernandez said there was nothing to indicate that he would have taken his own life. As was reported on Tuesday, officials at a correction facility in Shirley, MA said Hernandez hanged himself with a bedsheet in his prison cell.

On Thursday, Massachusetts police ruled his death a suicide. According to a press release from the Worcester County District Attorney, the chief medical examiner said the manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging.

The release also said three hand-written notes were found next to a Bible in the cell.

On Thursday, Aaron Hernandez's lawyer accused the Massachusetts' chief medical examiner of "illegally" holding the brain of the ex-NFL star who was found hanged in his prison cell.

The funeral director for Faggas Funeral Home in Watertown, MA told WBZ in Boston that Hernandez's body will be brought to Connecticut this weekend.

Jose Baez told reporters Thursday that Hernandez's family had arranged for Boston University to study the former New England Patriots tight end's brain as part of its concussion research.

The medical examiner released Hernandez's body to a funeral home earlier Thursday. But Baez says the office has not returned the brain.

A press release later on Thursday stated "Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes. The center studies a progressive degenerative brain disease found in some athletes who have experienced repetitive brain trauma."

Baez told the media the family would go to court if necessary and that it would be seeking an independent autopsy.

Hernandez's legal team said he was not on suicide watch.

WFSB's sister station, WBZ in Boston, reported that he had the Bible verse John 3:16 written on his forehead. It also said that investigators are looking into the possibility that he smoked synthetic marijuana the night before he died.

Hernandez was already serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of his one-time friend, Odin Lloyd.

To see photos depicting Aaron Hernandez's life through the criminal justice system, click here.

The suicide came just days after he was acquitted of a 2012 double murder case in Boston. 

Those who knew Hernandez said they were shocked to hear of his death. His family has reportedly asked their lawyer to investigate.

"He was an eternal optimist," said Robert Proctor, the family attorney. "It is very hard for me to accept that he committed suicide, but we are keeping an open mind."

When asked about whether or not Proctor believed Hernandez was suicidal, Proctor said: "not the Aaron I know."

A lawyer for one of the victims' families in the double murder trial said they might still pursue a suit against Hernandez's estate.

At one point, the former football star had a five-year $40 million contract.

Lloyd's family has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Their attorney said they plan to move forward with it.

Officials said that since a judge has already found Hernandez liable in Lloyd's death, all that's left to decide is a number of damages to award.

"We have a summary judgment motion that was allowed months ago that already established liability in this case," said Doug Sheff, wrongful death lawyers. "So we are hopeful and fully expect to be able to move ahead on the damages portion of the case."

At Hernandez's family's home in Bristol on Wednesday, a note was left on the front door. It said they had no comment. 

The home where Aaron Hernandez lived when he was accused of murder is still on the market.

Hernandez was a star player for the New England Patriots when he bought the house not far from Gillette Stadium for $1.3 million in November 2012 through a corporation.

Town property records show it was sold outright to Hernandez for a dollar in November 2013, several months after he was arrested for the murder of Lloyd.

The 5,800-square-foot house with 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms was put on the market for $1.5 million in March 2016. The asking price is now $1.3 million.

Attorneys for Lloyd's mother have placed an attachment on the house as part of a lawsuit against Hernandez. The Internal Revenue Service has a $117,395 tax lien on the property.

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