When former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found hanging in his prison cell on Wednesday morning, he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and had been acquitted of the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado just five days earlier. The families of those victims have reacted to the news of Hernandez’s death, each of them showing compassion and invoking their religious faiths.
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“I never thought Aaron Hernandez would reject his own life,” said Salvatore Furtado, the father of Safiro Furtado, whom prosecutors alleged Hernandez shot along with Arbeu in a drive-by. “Only God has the right to take somebody’s life. It’s very painful to me when somebody takes their own life.”
Ernesto Abreu, father of Daniel de Abreu, echoed that sentiment, saying, “I’m not happy about his death. It’s actually a shame. Any loss of life is a shame. I believe in leaving things in God’s hands.”
Before Hernandez was found not guilty in the deaths of Furtado and Abreu, he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for orchestrating the murder of Lloyd. An attorney representing Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, indicated that she is “obviously having a good deal of mixed emotions” after learning of her son’s convicted killer’s death.
“She believes — as she is an extremely religious woman — that this is God’s will,” Doug Sheff said on behalf of Ward. “She is sad for all of the others effected by this horrible event.”
“I’m just […] confused,” Lloyd’s sister, Olivia Thibou, added. “It doesn’t make sense. The timing doesn’t make any sense.”
Under Massachusetts law, Hernandez’s conviction in the Lloyd case will actually be voided, because he hadn’t used all of his appeals before passing away. All three families reportedly intend to move forward with civil suits against the former NFL player’s estate.