Aaron Hernandez was a reasonably productive tight end with the New England Patriots before his athletic career came to a shattering halt when he was arrested for murder in 2013. He was convicted of killing his friend, Odin Llyod, a semi-professional footballer with the Boston Bandits.
It might seem strange that an NFL star who had just signed a contract worth $40 million was friends with a landscaper who had to cycle to football practice and who sometimes couldn’t afford his own jersey. However, the men had met through the women in their lives; Llyod was dating Shaneah Jenkins, the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins.
The two men bonded over their love of football, and they also had similar backgrounds, both had grown up in a rough neighborhood and had had tough childhoods. Hernandez would occasionally lend his Chevy Suburban to Llyod. Lloyd was proud of his friendship with the NFL star, he would brag about it to his Bandits teammates and to his sister.
In the summer of 2013, having spent the evening with Hernandez, Llyod was shot dead in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home. Twenty-fours later, police were able to link the footballer’s car to the scene of the crime, and Hernandez was arrested. He was promptly charged with murder.
Two other associates of Hernandez were arrested at the same time, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz were charged as being accessories to murder. They were tried separately to Hernandez and received jail sentences of four to seven years.
In 2015 Hernandez was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He always maintained his innocence until his death in April 2017 when he hanged himself with a bedsheet in his cell.
A clear motive was never established. A recent theory suggested that Llyod may have been mocking Hernandez over his sexuality on the night he died. Hernandez allegedly came out as gay while in prison.
After his death, Hernandez was discovered to have been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the result of continuous blows to his head. Medical experts have said that this could have affected and might explain his behavior.
Watch Aaron Hernadez: An ID Murder Mystery at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.