Before his second murder trial, Aaron Hernandez was a man of few words. At only 27 years old, he was staring at a life sentence in jail with no parole.
Hernandez had been an athlete with promise. First, as a University of Florida football player, then as a New Englands Patriots' tight end.
Hernandez threw all of that promise away in 2013, when he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Odin L. Lloyd.
As the trial started, and what would end up being the last few days of his life, something changed. Hernandez began to speak up.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Hernandez opened up more in the courtroom about whatever came into his mind — from former college teammate Tim Tebow's career with the New York Mets to Boston traffic.
He was aware of his loneliness, Yahoo! reported. His sole supporter was his loyal fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who had Hernandez's name legally added to her own in 2015. The two have a 4-year-old daughter together.
But no one else stood in solidarity with Hernandez. Even his old coach, Bill Belichick, sidestepped a court appearance.
Hernandez apparently found humor during the last weeks he spent in court, despite the severity of his sentencing. He'd try to siphon some levity out of a harrowing situation.
He'd quip about always having “the Department of Corrections” and “his attorneys” by his side. He began to act like the people he paid to defend him were now his friends.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Hernandez's final days in court started and ended the same way:
At the beginning and end of every day of court, he’d hug them, kiss them, act like he was a long-lost brother, not billable hours they’d booked the night before.
These new “high spirits” apparently masked something much darker.
Early Wednesday morning, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell. CBS confirmed that the convicted felon had committed suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet.
According to additional reports, Hernandez had a Bible verse written on his forehead—John 3:16.
Red markings were also found on his hands and feet.
Just days before Hernandez's suicide, CNBC's Suzy Welch played a word association game with coach Bill Belichick during an interview:
When asked about Hernandez, Belichick only said one word: