A few days ago, it was reported that former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez, was acquitted of two murder charges. As elated as he was to avoid being found guilty, the promising pro-football player was still serving a life sentence for another murder he was convicted of. Within days of his acquittal, prison guards found Hernandez dead in his cell.
The text message came in early, around 6:30 a.m. ET, and upon hearing the news that Aaron Hernandez had apparently hanged himself in his prison cell, I immediately thought of his 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. She was right there in Courtroom 906 while her dad was being tried for the murder of two men, a case that would end late last week in his acquittal.
I thought about those two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, and the family members who deserve justice and who sat through an excruciating ordeal for weeks, listening to detailed testimony about the bloody and senseless deaths of their loved ones.
I thought of the family of Odin Lloyd, the semi-pro linebacker who in 2013 was found dead in a gravel pit about a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home. Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, showed remarkable courage and grace after the former New England Patriots tight end was found guilty of executing her son.
Hernandez, like so many other convicted felons are man enough to commit their crimes but not man enough to pay the penalty for those crimes. While it’s a tragic loss for his wife and daughter, some believe it was the best thing Hernandez could have done, to spare himself and family years of imprisonment and embarrassment. One person commented that it saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars it would have cost to keep him alive for many years. Regardless of one’s view, the message is – do the crime – pay the time.