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Killer Inside on Netflix true story: Who was Aaron Hernandez?

The American footballer is the subject of a new Netflix documentary

Published: Wednesday, 22nd January 2020 at 10:23 am

Over the past few years, Netflix has established itself as the place to be for fans of true crime documentaries and that doesn't look to be changing in 2020.


Their latest offering, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez explores a case from 2015, where a prolific American footballer was found guilty of murder.

Here's what you need to know about the tragic true story...

Who was Aaron Hernandez?

American footballer Aaron Hernandez came from a troubled upbringing. Born in Bristol, Connecticut in November 1989, his home life was difficult from a young age.

His elder brother, Jonathan, told the Boston Globe that the pair of them lived in fear throughout their childhood, as their father, Dennis, would beat them regularly and severely.

Through his abuse he pressured them to achieve athletic success and they both went on to play American football on university sports teams.

After a successful run playing for Bristol Central High School, Aaron moved far away to play for the University of Florida's team, who are known as the Florida Gators.

His sporting prowess continued to shine through, winning the John Mackey Award in 2009 for the best student player in the offensive tight end position.

However, due to his chronic drug habit as a regular user of marijuana, he was not invited back to the team the following year, prompting him to launch a professional career.

Despite a history of failed drug tests, Hernandez was signed to the New England Patriots in 2010.

He stayed there for the remainder of his career, earning a huge $40 million contract extension in 2012, which was the second-largest ever given to a tight end player at the time.

Yet he was not popular with his fellow teammates and, according to the Boston Globe, by 2013, head coach Bill Belichick was threatening to throw him off the team due to his behavioural problems.

That same year he was investigated for the 2012 murders of two young men, Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, who had both been shot to death in their vehicle.

He was formally charged in May 2014 and his trial began in March 2017, but a jury acquitted him of the crimes, partly due to an inconsistent witness statement from drug dealer Alexander S. Bradley.

Hernandez would later be convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd on 17th June 2013, who was dating the sister of his fiancee.

He was arrested just over a week later on 26th June, at which point he was released from the New England Patriots, and his trial began in January 2015.

He was found guilty and given a sentence of life in prison.

How did Aaron Hernandez die?

Around two years after his conviction, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts.

An autopsy was performed and the death was ruled a suicide by hanging.

Killer Inside on Netflix
Killer Inside on Netflix Netflix

What is CTE disease?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease often suffered by people who take repeated blows to the head, such as American footballers who are frequently concussed during play.

Symptoms generally appear several years after the initial injury and become more severe as the condition progresses.

They can begin as headaches and bouts of dizziness or confusion, developing into memory loss and poor judgement, while in its latest stage it can cause dementia, depression and suicidal tendencies among other serious issues.

After Hernandez died, his family requested his brain be examined for signs of CTE, with medical researchers ultimately diagnosing him to be in the late stages of the disease.

It has been speculated that this could have been the cause of his erratic and violent behaviour.

What happened to Aaron Hernandez's fiancée?

Aaron Hernandez and Shayanna Jenkins had been dating since 2007, when they attended High School together and became engaged in 2012 following the birth of their daughter.

She stayed loyal to her fiancee during his trial and even after his conviction, as depicted in the Killer Inside documentary.

Following his death and diagnosis with CTE, she and her daughter attempted to sue the New England Patriots and the NFL for causing his death, but the case was thrown out.

Jenkins has since had a second child with former boxer Dino Guilmette and regularly posts on Instagram, where she has over 175,000 followers.

Is Killer Inside accurate?

The documentary depicts Hernandez as guilty of Lloyd's murder, but his former lawyer, Jose Baez, does dispute the conviction to this day.

He said in an Instagram post: "I don’t give a damn about what some lame ass documentary has to say about Aaron. I knew him, they did not and while he was far from perfect, they are not even close to the truth.

"People have no idea how documentaries are made, the truth is usually found on the cutting room floor. These producers lied directly to my face, so I don’t expect their money making scheme to be much better."

He accepts that Hernandez was present for the murder, but claims there is "zero evidence" to suggest that it was him who pulled the trigger.

The conviction of first-degree murder was planned to be appealed by Baez and Hernandez, prior to his death.


Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is now streaming on Netflix


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