Aaron Hernandez's family, medical examiner's office tussle over ex-NFL player's brain

Aaron Hernandez died innocent of murder despite the conviction for which he was serving a life sentence

Aaron Hernandez's brain is being turned over to his family after his lawyer accused authorities in MA of "illegally" keeping it from them, NBC News reports.

According to Baez, the Hernandez family expected to receive the brain Thursday morning so they could give it to BU.

Inside the cell, investigators found three hand-written notes next to a Bible.

"No one is going to stand in the way of the family's wishes", said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett, whose office oversees the medical examiner.

The 27-year-old former National Football League player hung himself early on Wednesday in the cell where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of an acquaintance, dying less than a week after he was cleared of a separate double-murder charge, according to state officials. Authorities previously said Hernandez had not left a suicide note and he hadn't been on suicide watch. The timing of his death - prison officials say he hung himself - has perplexed people and Hernandez didn't leave a suicide note.

Prison guards who managed to force their way through the door shortly after 3 a.m. found a Bible open to John 3:16 - a passage about "eternal life" - and Hernandez hanging from a bedsheet connected to the window with "John 3:16" written in ink on his forehead, a source told the Herald.

The CTE Center declined to discuss Hernandez's brain.

Hernandez's brain will be donated to Boston University's CTE Center, Jose Baez said, when the medical examiner releases it.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.

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Hernandez's body is at a Boston-area funeral home, but services for the Bristol, Connecticut, native likely will be held elsewhere.

Also on Wednesday, Chief Medical Examiner Henry N. Nields conducted an autopsy on Hernandez, and came to the conclusion that his cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging. Baden, who didn't immediately comment, has performed autopsies in numerous high-profile cases, including the death of Michael Brown, who was black and was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

In between, he signed a US$40 million contract, following which he said he was "set for life, a good life". You go to where the evidence takes you.

Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit. Hernandez grew up in CT and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012. It can only be diagnosed posthumously.

The team had refused to make the payment following his arrest for the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Mass.

Asked if Hernandez's fate - at the time, life in prison - was also heartbreaking, Belichick responded: "Yes".

What's to become of Hernandez's home and other assets is another unanswered question.

The 5,800-square-foot house with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms was put on the market for $1.5 million in March 2016. It was put on the market for $1.5 million in March 2016, but the price has since dropped to $1.3 million. The Daily Mail reported the families have filed civil lawsuits against Hernandez's estate seeking damages.

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