New information surrounding Aaron Hernandez’s life in county jail before being convicted of double homicide in 2015 surfaced Thursday after records from the Bristol County House of Corrections were made public. According to documents, Hernandez allegedly threatened to kill an officer who worked at the Dartmouth, Massachusetts facility and on another occasion said he dreamt of “chasing” a guard’s family.
The former New England Patriots tight end was placed at the Bristol County House of Corrections while he was awaiting trial for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. NBC Boston published dozens of incident reports Thursday after filing public records requests with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office following Hernandez’s April suicide.
During one incident, Hernandez reportedly threatened a prison staff member and his family after the individual denied to comply with his requests for extra rations. In a November 2013 formal discipline report, officer Matt Bower wrote that he denied Hernandez extra meals, at which point the former athlete allegedly became “verbally aggressive and stated multiple times that when he gets out of jail he is going to shoot me and kill my family.” He then began making a noise that “sounded like a machine gun.”
For his part, Hernandez denied that he threatened the officer and his family while admitting to the machine gun noises. He defended himself against the death threat allegations by saying “it doesn’t make sense” that he would threaten corrections officers because he was in the county jail for a “serious crime,” perhaps implying that poor behavior would affect his case.
“I did not say I was going to kill him or his family, that’s false information,” Hernandez wrote in an appeal. “I said if I see any of the COs that act tough in jail, out of jail, I’m going to slap the shit out of them. Other inmates were pissed at him throwing out food, saying [they’re] going to kill him when they get out of jail and I was in a [talking] mood making gun sounds, so he probably thought it was me who said it.”
In a separate incident report filed the same month, a corrections officer wrote that Hernandez displayed a pattern of aggressive behaviors, particularly when he was denied amenities. When the officer confiscated toothpaste and “fishing line” — which were used to pass notes between inmates — in the former athlete’s possession, Hernandez reportedly became agitated.
“I spoke with inmate Hernandez about his aggressive tone and informed him that over the past few weeks it has become an excessive habit when he does not receive what he wants, when he wants it,” officer Joshua Pacheco wrote in the report. “He is constantly kicking his cell door and screaming at the top of his lungs utilizing profanity at times when he wants something, regardless of how minuscule it is.”
Pacheco continued, “It is not uncommon for inmate Hernandez to kick his cell door constantly until an officer approaches his cell merely to ask the officer for the current time, this to him is comical, causing a disruption in normal operation within the unit. In addition, Inmate Hernandez is constantly scheming to receive extra food, and has received a D-report in the past for threatening an officer during chow, stating that he would beat up CO’s who think they’re tough on the street when he is released.”
Hernandez was again written up by Pacheco for threatening jail staff in June 2014, this time allegedly claiming that he dreamt of “chasing” the corrections officer and his family.
“Upon exiting his cell, I/M Hernandez approached this officer to tell me about a dream he had last night,” Pacheco wrote. “He states that he dreamt that his upcoming visitation with his daughter was cancelled due to me issuing him a Formal Disciplinary Report for his actions following the ED United shakedown conducted on Saturday, 28 June. He then stated that his dream ‘changed locations’ and stated passive aggressively that my family and I were on vacation and he was ‘chasing me.’ At this point, he stated that his dream ended.”
Bristol County House of Corrections wasn’t the only facility at which Hernandez had a history of aggressive behavior. Hernandez was also cited for 78 disciplinary offenses in less than two years at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center cell in Shirley, Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for the Lloyd murder at the time of his death. On one occasion, he was found to be in possession of a nearly six-inch shank fashioned out of a piece of metal, for which he received the maximum 15 days in solitary confinement and was cut off from accessing the prison’s commissary — or general store — for 90 days.
Hernandez, 27, was found dead in his cell at the maximum-security prison after hanging himself using a bed sheet. Days before his death, Hernandez was acquitted of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a Boston nightclub in July 2012. Hernandez’s conviction for the Lloyd murder, which was being appealed at the time of his death, was ultimately overturned earlier this month.