Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez has sat down with Dr. Phil for an interview that is set to air in two parts on May 15 and 16. During the interview, she opened up about how she learned of the late Hernandez’s prison suicide and what her first thoughts were.
“I thought it was a hoax, that this was some cruel person playing a trick on me,” she said in regard to receiving the phone call notifying her that her fiancé had passed away. “I felt like we were looking so bright. We were going up a ladder to a positive direction.”
Five days before taking his own life, Hernandez had been acquitted of a double murder. He was in the process of appealing his prior conviction in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. The suspicious timing of his suicide led some close to the former NFL star, including his lawyer and former manager, to wonder if he hadn’t actually been murdered by fellow inmates or prison guards. An autopsy later confirmed that his death was in fact by suicide.
Jenkins-Hernandez reportedly told Dr. Phil that Hernandez was getting more optimistic about having his conviction overturned after the double murder acquittal. Therefore, news of his death came as a shock. However, last week Massachusetts prosecutors released the suicide note the former New England Patriots tight end left for Jenkins-Hernandez, in which he wrote, “I told you what was coming indirectly!”
Additionally, Hernandez wrote, “You’re rich,” seemingly referring to the possibility that his conviction would be vacated after his death. On Tuesday, a judge tossed out the conviction on the grounds that Hernandez had not exhausted all of his appeals before dying. As a result, the Patriots might have to pay his estate the remainder of his salary, $6 million, that was withheld upon his arrest.
Jenkins-Hernandez is the beneficiary of the estate, meaning that if the team is forced to pay up, she’ll get the money. However, the estate is currently facing three wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of Hernandez’s three alleged victims.