Hernandez brain to be donated for CTE research

by: Alex Reimer on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 2:16pm

Aaron Hernandez’s family will donate his brain to the Boston University CTE Center for research, his attorney Jose Baez said at a press conference Thursday.

Baez, who vowed Wednesday to conduct his own investigation into Hernandez’s apparent suicide, claims the Medical Examiner’s Office is illegally holding onto the deceased NFL star’s brain.

“The culture of misconduct and the culture of negligence that goes on in this town is befuddling,” he said to reporters. “It’s unbelievable they would engage in this type of conduct, especially when everyone is watching.”

State officials released the rest of Hernandez’s body to a funeral home Thursday, but declined to share more details about his death. The Correction Department hasn’t shared the incident report, officers’ logs or video footage from Hernandez’s cell.

In a statement released Wednesday, the DOC said Hernandez hanged himself from a bed sheet.

“Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items,” it reads.

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

“The Medical Examiner’s office shouldn’t be allowed to play amateur hour,” he said.

Following Baez’s meeting with reporters, the Medical Examiner’s office released a statement, saying the brain will be sent to BU after the inquiry into Hernandez’s death is complete.

Here is the statement from the Medical Examiner’s Office regarding #AaronHernandez pic.twitter.com/m4g7D2DWEL

— Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovernJr) April 20, 2017

[UPDATE 5:00 p.m.]: The Worcester DA has confirmed Hernandez’s brain will be sent to BU.

When asked if he believes CTE played a role in Hernandez’s death, Baez demurred.

“Here’s the one thing you have to understand,” he said. “When you conduct an investigation, you don’t look for a specific result. You go to where the evidence takes you. We’re very lucky that Boston University is right here in our backyard and we want to take full advantage of the resources.”

While Baez didn’t outwardly reject the Department of Corrections’ conclusion that Hernandez killed himself, he expressed doubt about the veracity of the state’s investigation.

“Why are so quick to accept their word?,” he asked. “Especially when you look at the history of this case and the history of what went on in the court room.”

Hernandez was acquitted on double murder charges Friday, five days before he was found dead inside of his prison cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Earlier Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker also expressed support for an investigation into Hernandez’s death, but said he trusts the DOC to handle it properly.

Author’s note: This post has been updated to include the Medical Examiner’s statement.