The Massachusetts State Police have issued the formal report confirming the prior finding that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison last month. Many of the details previously had been reported.
The report rules out, based on a toxicology study, synthetic marijuana or any other substances; published reports had suggested that Hernandez smoked the substance the evening before the suicide.
In response to the State Police report, lawyer Jose Baez has issued a statement reiterating his vow to investigate the situation on his own.
“Now that the state authorities have completed and closed their investigation into the death of Aaron, we owe it Aaron and his family to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into this tragic death,” Baez said in a statement. “The total lack of professionalism exhibited by government officials and their employees during this entire process is unprecedented. The majority of information contained in these reports was leaked to the press during the course of the investigation. The family was never advised during the investigation or before the report was released today as to any of the specifics of the investigation.
“They unfortunately learned through the numerous press reports, citing unnamed government sources or those close to the investigation, of the details of Aaron’s death. The family members were victims in this matter and deserved better treatment by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“The unprofessional behavior of those entrusted to impartially and professionally conduct an investigation into Aaron’s death has caused grave concern as to the validity and thoroughness of the investigation. Accordingly, we intend to fully, completely and impartially review all of the evidence in this matter. We will not speculate as to the conclusions of our investigation. We can only promise the best investigators and forensic experts available will conduct a thorough analysis.
“Any official who attempts to interfere or inhibit our investigation by refusing to allow access to the evidence surrounding this matter will not be tolerated. We will use any and all of the legal tools at our disposal to expose and prevent any such interference.”
In the immediate aftermath of the news of Hernandez’s death and the preliminary indication that he had committed suicide, Baez and Hernandez’s agent, Brian Murphy, hinted at foul play. A separate question lingers as to whether the prison authorities took sufficient steps to protect Hernandez from himself, including whether protocols requiring the cell to be checked on a regular basis were followed and whether guards knew or should have known that Hernandez had become suicidal.