The death of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has prompted new questions about the life he led behind bars and what he said before he died.
Investigators recently revealed that Hernandez wrote three notes in his prison cell before he hanged himself last week. Two of the letters were addressed to family. But the third note — addressed to an inmate named Kyle Kennedy — has prompted rumors and speculation about the relationships Hernandez had while in custody.
During a court hearing Monday, attorney George Leontire said the public scrutiny was unfair to the Hernandez family, who learned about the letters, the inmate and even a rumored sexual relationship from the media.
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"This family doesn't know if he had a gay lover in the prison, or didn't have a gay lover in the prison," Leontire said during a sidebar conversation with the judge. "Allegedly, one of the notes is to a gay lover. They have a right to know that."
Leontire requested and was granted copies of the letters. However, the family of Kennedy has been seeking its own answers, trying to obtain the letter through an attorney.
Kennedy, 22, arrived at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, in 2015 after he was convicted of armed robbery. While little is known about his relationship with Hernandez inside the prison, an attorney for the Kennedy family called them friends. Following Hernandez's death, Kennedy was put on suicide watch for a period of time.
In response to media reports and statements from the Kennedy family attorney, Hernandez family attorney Jose Baez released a statement to address the rumors.
"Rumors of letters to a gay lover, in or out of prison, are false," Baez said. "These are malicious leaks used to tarnish someone who is dead. I urge anyone continuing to spread these malicious untruths to cease immediately."