Aaron Hernandez’s Double Life: Inside the Aftermath of His Suicide and the Questions Left Unanswered

“I know everyone is looking for me to be angry, but I’m not,” Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, told reporters after Hernandez’s conviction was overturned. It was in God’s hands, she said. And despite the court’s ruling, “In our book he is guilty and he’s going to always be guilty. I know one day I’m going to see my son, and that’s the victory I have that I’m going to take with me.”

The family was needless to say thankful when the Massachusetts high court once again made Hernandez legally responsible for Lloyd’s death, calling their slain son “an inspiration to all who knew him and a devoted member of his family and the entire community.”

In the meantime, other legal pathways for Hernandez’s survivors are slowly closing. Also last year, a federal court judge in Philadelphia—where the class-action concussion suit against the NFL had ultimately been settled—dismissed the lawsuit Jenkins filed on behalf of her daughter, ruling that Hernandez was effectively retired from the NFL by the time of his death and since no move was made to separate him from the 18,000-strong body of retired players represented in the suit, he was therefore bound by the terms of the class action settlement.

In 2018, Jenkins had her second child, another daughter, with boxer Dino Guilmette. She has been living a private life, letting her lawyers be the public face of the aftermath of Hernandez’s death, but in the foreword to Baez’s book she noted that she would have supported him no matter what he was going through, including any revelation about his sexuality, if he had been inclined to confide in her.

“I wish I had known how he felt, just so we could have talked about it,” she wrote. “I wouldn’t have disowned him. I would have been supportive.” But Jenkins, like Baez, believed that the CTE was what ultimately took Hernandez away from all of them and influenced his increasingly destructive behavior.

“This may sound weird to say about someone you love, but I feel like CTE researchers hit the jack pot when they got Aaron’s brain,” Jenkins wrote. “After all we had been through—his arrest, his trial, and his death—it was still devastating news. I cried because I realized I had tried to help him for so long, but there was nothing I could have done. I cried because there was a battle going on within his brain and he didn’t even know it.”

(This story was originally published on March 17, 2018, at 6 a.m. PST.)

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