Aaron Hernandez: An American Tragedy

Photo: Boston Globe (Getty Images)

Just a couple of years ago, Aaron Hernandez was slowly making a name for himself, playing as a tight end for the New England Patriots and gathering praise from the fans. Drafted in 2010, he was considered one of the finest tight ends in the league, along with his teammate Rob Gronkowski. However, in 2013, Hernandez was suddenly arrested for murder and sent to prison. The prosecutors claimed he killed Odin Lloyd, another player who was dating his fiance’s sister. After this skeletons started coming out of the closet, leading to Aaron’s untimely death in 2017. Here’s what we know about the tragedy.

Aaron’s Father

No one knew what made Aaron Hernandez take a man’s life, but some people suggested his childhood as one of the important elements in the story. Aaron was born in 1989 in Bristol, Connecticut. When he was 16 years old, his father died due to hernia surgery complications. According to Hernandez’s mother, this affected Aaron a lot. He was really attached to his father and, after losing him, he started having trouble with authority. Interestingly, his father Dennis was also a football star back in his days and even managed to get a university scholarship. Of course, at that time, it couldn’t have been easy for a young Puertorican man to make a name for himself in an Italian-heavy town. In the end, he gave up on that dream, married and probably transferred his ambitions to his two kids who both became great athletes. Some people believe that this was more of a burden to Aaron than anything else.

Aaron Hernandez’s Girlfriend

One of the major influences in Aaron’s life is certainly his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, whom he started dating in 2007. In fact, before he killed himself in prison a couple of months ago, he left a suicide note to his girlfriend/fiance, urging her to tell everyone his story and look after the children. But who is actually Shayanna? The thing is that we don’t really know much about her. We know that she had a daughter with Aaron and took his last name, even though they were never married. Her sister was in a relationship with the victim, Odin Lloyd, but it’s still unclear why would Hernandez kill him. An information surfaced during the whole trial that Shayanna actually cheated on Aaron at one point, but he seemingly forgave her. Could this have something to do with the death of Lloyd? We still don’t know.

The Trial

Aaron was charged in 2013 with the murder of Odin Lloyd, eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Interestingly, during the process, another case came up and Aaron was again charged with shooting two men back in 2012. Although he was found not guilty later on, this cast quite a shadow on his life and made people doubt his defense. The trial was, naturally carefully followed by the public. Shayanna even brought her young daughter to the court because Aaron wanted to see her. He didn’t show it at first, the prison life affected him heavily and, due to the pressure of it all, Aaron killed himself. There was a talk that the trial should be abandoned because of his death, but opponents argue that it’s actually rewarding his homicidal behavior.


One of the most intriguing speculations that are probably not true is the idea that Aaron Hernandez was actually a homosexual. Some believe that it’s this inability to reconcile with parts of his personality that eventually drew him to murder and even death. Where does Odin fit in? According to the prosecutors, he probably said something to Hernandez that made him suspicious and vengeful. Of course, both Aaron’s lawyer and his fiance denied allegations of homosexualism and, instead, tried to explain his actions through a difficult childhood.

We might never know what actually triggered Aaron Hernandez’s homicidal side, but it’s important to try and find motivation in these cases so that we could know how it could have been prevented.