Ex-NFL star Hernandez's fiancée thought death was hoax: TV interview
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[May 11, 2017]
BOSTON (Reuters) - The fiancée
of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez initially
thought reports last month of his prison suicide were a cruel hoax,
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez said in an interview to be broadcast next
week on CBS television's "Dr. Phil" show.
The former National Football League athlete hanged himself in the
Massachusetts prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for
murder, but his death shocked his family as it came just days after
a jury had cleared him of a separate double-murder charge.
"I thought it was a hoax, that this was some cruel person playing a
trick on me," Jenkins-Hernandez told longtime talk show host Phil
McGraw. "I felt like we were looking so bright. We were going up a
ladder to a positive direction."
Hernandez had been upbeat and had taken a more spiritual tone in his
conversations with fellow inmates at the Souza-Baranowski
Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, according to court
papers released last week.
"Tell my story fully, but never think anything besides how much I
love you," he wrote to Jenkins-Hernandez in a note found by his
body. In that note, he also told his fiancée "you're rich."
Hernandez had a $41 million contract with one of the NFL's top
franchises when he was arrested in June 2013 and charged with
murdering acquaintance Odin Lloyd. The team dropped him within
Hernandez was convicted of that murder in 2015 and sentenced to life
in prison without possibility of parole.
A Massachusetts judge on Tuesday overturned that conviction, citing
a state legal principle that allows a verdict to be vacated if the
defendant dies before he has exhausted the appeals process.
Prosecutors plan to appeal that decision.
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Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez,
listens during the murder trial for Hernandez at the Bristol County
Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015.
Inmates said that idea had been the subject of prison
gossip in the days before Hernandez's death, according to court
papers, and local media have reported that Hernandez may have
believed his fiancée could recoup some of the money he lost when the
Patriots released him if his earlier conviction were overturned.
Dr. Phil asks that question in the interview, to be broadcast in two
segments on May 15-16, according to advance excerpts provided by his
show: "Did he kill himself so that you could collect $6.5 million?"
The excerpts do not indicate Jenkins-Hernandez's response and a CBS
spokeswoman declined to comment on what she said. A lawyer for
Jenkins-Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for
(Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by G Crosse)
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