true crime

The story behind Netflix's chilling new documentary about convicted killer Aaron Hernandez.

This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.

In his early twenties, Aaron Hernandez was a huge star in the NFL.

The football player, who initially got his start as a fun-loving high school football player, landed a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots at just 22 years old.

At the time, he had a loving fiancée, a huge mansion for a home, and strong support from his friends and family.

But within just years of his professional football career kicking off, it all came crashing down.

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez below. Post continues after video.

In June 2013, after just three seasons with the New England Patriots, Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd – a 27-year-old football player who was dating Hernandez’s fiancée’s sister at the time.

On June 17, 2013, Lloyd was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the back and the chest about a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.

The next day, police searched Hernandez’s home. At the crime scene, police also found Hernandez’s DNA on a blunt.

In just over a week, Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and five gun-related charges. Within 90 minutes of his arrest, the Patriots released Hernandez from the team.

After pleading not guilty to the charges in August 2013, Hernandez was found guilty of murder in the first degree on April 15, 2015.

Under the law in Massachusetts, Hernandez received a sentence of life in prison without a possibility of parole.

Listen to Mamamia’s True Crime Conversations, which features interviews with experts on the world’s most fascinating, terrifying and mysterious crimes. Post continues below.

In April 19, 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell at 27 years old. His death was ruled a suicide.

As Hernandez died during his appeal, his conviction was initially vacated. After an appeal from Lloyd’s family in 2019, however, the conviction was reinstated.

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Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Despite Hernandez’s death, the questions about the football player’s death and his motives haven’t stopped.

Now, new Netflix docuseries Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is taking a deeper look at one of the most confounding figures in sporting history.

The documentary, which was released over the weekend, focuses on the murder of Lloyd as well as the trial and conviction of Hernandez.

The Netflix series also looked at a number of other crimes that Hernandez has been linked to.

aaron hernandez death
Aaron Hernandez in December 2012. Image: Getty.

After being charged for the murder of Lloyd, Hernandez was linked to the murder of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeria Furtado.

The pair were killed in 2012 when they were shot while sitting in a car outside a nightclub in Boston. The NFL player didn't know the two victims.

Initially, when Hernandez was identified in the nightclub's security footage, it was thought to be a coincidence.

But after the conviction for the murder of Lloyd, Hernandez was charged with the double murder, which he stood trial for.

Just days before his death, Hernandez was acquitted of the murders.

Aaron Hernandez's childhood.

Besides looking at Hernandez's crimes, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez also examined his childhood and upbringing.

As reported by The Boston GlobeHernandez and his brother D.J. were often physically abused by their father, Dennis Hernandez, for not trying hard enough in school and athletics.

In one instance, Hernandez's father punched his son's football coach following a dispute over his coaching methods.

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"He promptly turned around and clocked me across the face, broke my glasses off my face," the coach, Tim SanSoucie, later told media.

aaron hernandez death
Aaron Hernandez in court in 2017. Image: Getty.

It's also alleged that Hernandez's father was routinely abusive towards his wife as well.

It has also been reported that Hernandez's father was extremely against homosexuality.

"‘F****t’ was used all the time in our house,” D.J. recalled in an interview.

“All the time. Standing. Talking. Acting. Looking. It was the furthest thing my father wanted you to even look like in our household. This was not acceptable to him.”

Despite living in constant fear of his father, Hernandez revered him and he struggled significantly following his death in 2006.

It's believed he never got over his father's death.

Aaron Hernadez's sexuality.

For years, rumours about Hernandez's sexuality have circulated.

In Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, the football player's sexuality was discussed at length. It was alleged in the series that Hernandez had several male sexual partners before and during his engagement to Shayanna Jenkins.

Hernandez's brother, D.J., also claimed that he had came out as gay to his mother while in prison. It's alleged he also opened up about the self hatred that came from growing up with an extremely homophobic father.

According to D.J., Hernandez was allegedly sexually molested by a teenage boy when he was six years old. It's believed the abuse continued for several years afterward.

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"He never dealt with [the sexual abuse]. It led to issues in his sexuality," a former college girlfriend of the football player later claimed.

Aaron Hernadez's brain condition.


The new Netflix documentary also examined how Hernandez's advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) could have triggered his violent behaviour.

The football player was diagnosed with the condition following his death. At the time, it was the worst case of CTE in a young person that Boston University researches had ever seen.

The disease, which was caused by multiple blows to the head in the NFL, affected his short and long term memory, caused migraines, poor judgement, lack of impulse control, paranoia, and emotional volatility. Researchers have also found that the condition can trigger suicidal behaviour.

"While I’m not going to connect the dots with his behavior or difficulties during life… the frontal lobes – and his were very severely affected – are involved in problem-solving, judgment, impulse control, and social behavior," Boston University researcher Ann McKee said in a news release.

"The amygdala, which was affected in Aaron Hernandez as well, is involved in emotional regulation, emotional behavior, fear, and anxiety."

Feature Image: Getty.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is available to watch on Netflix now.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.


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