NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A judge has ordered the Worcester County District Attorney to release three handwritten notes from Aaron Hernandez to his family.
Superior Court Justice Thomas F. McGuire, Jr. handed down the order just hours before Hernandez was laid to rest in a private funeral in Bristol, Connecticut.
The order comes after the attorney for Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, filed a motion in Bristol County Superior Court asking the state to “produce Aaron Hernandez’s jail cell writings.” In the order allowing the motion, Justice McGuire says the DA must produce copies of any “suicide or other notes, if any, that appear to have been authored by Aaron Hernandez in connection with his death.”
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A spokesman for the Worcester County DA confirmed that the notes were turned over Monday afternoon, and said they would not be released publicly.
The judge allowed the DA’s office to redact portions of the notes for the purpose of protecting the ongoing investigation into the ex-NFL player and convicted murderer’s death. McGuire ordered the notes to be sent to the family’s attorney in time for Hernandez’s burial.
Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett attended the hearing and spoke to reporters afterwards, declining to comment on to whom the notes were addressed or what they contained.
“I would say some of them are suicide notes,” Bennett said. He asked the judge to allow the notes to be redacted in order to preserve the investigation, but said he would leave it up to the DA to decide if redactions were necessary. “I know that in reviewing the notes just a few minutes ago, that they’re not going to affect the investigation,” he said.
Bennett said he personally attended the hearing because his office oversees the Massachusetts State Police, Department of Corrections and Medical Examiner’s Office, all of which are involved in investigating Hernandez’s death.
He said the investigation is still ongoing despite Hernandez’s official manner of death being ruled a suicide.
“It doesn’t end when the medical examiner makes a determination,” Bennett said. “They can go on for months and months and months.” He said part of the continuing investigation will include interviewing 96 inmates who were residing in the wing of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where Hernandez took his own life.
The attorney for the Hernandez family, George Leontire, did not immediately return a phone call and email requesting comment on the suicide notes.
Separately, a hearing in the civil case between the mother of murder victim Odin Lloyd and Hernandez’s estate was previously scheduled to be heard in Superior Court on Monday, but it was canceled. Doug Sheff, the attorney for Lloyd’s mother Ursula Ward, told Eyewitness News he canceled the hearing because it conflicted with Hernandez’s funeral. A new date for that hearing has not yet been set.