Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes have been released to his family. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez’s suicide notes have been released to his family. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

A Bristol Superior Court judge ordered copies of the suicide notes of Aaron Hernandez to be released to his family after attorney George Leontire filed a motion Monday morning for the family to “know their loved one’s final thoughts” prior to his funeral Monday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, via the Boston Globe, Leontire said having access to copies of the notes is a “necessary as part of the grieving process.”

Leontire wrote to the court, “the family has the right, during this grieving process, to know their loved one’s final thoughts” and that Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez had legal standing to demand them as the personal representative of his estate.

The notes reportedly were written to Jenkins Hernandez and their four-year-old daughter. There was a third note, but who that was written to has not been confirmed.

Hernandez’s private funeral is being held Monday afternoon in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are scheduled to attend the Kentucky Derby. (Jamie Rhodes/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are scheduled to attend the Kentucky Derby. (Jamie Rhodes/USA Today Sports)

The Kentucky Derby will once again have several current and former Patriots in attendance.

The Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala, the premier gala at the Derby, has released its celebrity guest list. Some notables include: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel and Larry Izzo.

Brady has been attending the event for years and it appears he will be linking up with some old teammates and good friends.

Other celebrities on the list include Bill Belichick’s good friend Kid Rock, Tracy Morgan, Katie Couric and Aaron Rodgers.

The Derby is set for May 6.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots will likely have one of the best cornerback duos in the league next season.

Don't expect Malcolm Butler to be going anywhere. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Don’t expect Malcolm Butler to be going anywhere. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots will likely have one of the best cornerback duos in the league next season.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Saints and Butler have agreed on a long-term contract that would make him among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the game, but all sides believe a trade is improbable at this point. The Patriots are said to be wanting more than the Saints are willing to give up.

Butler will now likely team up with Stephon Gilmore as the two corners in the Patriots secondary.

The 27-year-old visited the Saints as a restricted free agent, but the Patriots control his rights since he signed his tender and thus control where he goes.

Of course it’s still possible a deal happens if the Patriots lower their demands or the Saints change what they are offering, but at this point it doesn’t seem like a deal will be happening.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Aaron Hernandez's death was ruled a suicide last week. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s death was ruled a suicide last week. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

When following the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial, it was impossible to not consider the life sentence the disgraced ex-NFL star was already serving for the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd. But multiple members of the jury were unaware of his violent past.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, jury forewoman Lindsey Stringer said she only learned about the Lloyd conviction in an informal post-trial conversation with Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. LockeA technology director in her mid-30s who relocated to Boston four years ago, she was “vaguely aware” of Hernandez, but couldn’t place him. Jurors are prohibited from reading media coverage about their case or talking about their work.

“Jurors are basically living two different lives,” Stringer told the Globe. “There’s your life at the courthouse, where you’re under intense scrutiny from everyone all the time while you’re there, and then you go home to your regular life and you can’t talk about anything. ‘How was your day?’ ‘Umm . . . fine.’ ”

When the trial ended, Stringer found out several of her peers didn’t know about Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction, either. It’s likely Hernandez’s attorneys didn’t want those with strong feelings against their client to serve on the jury, which would explain why many jurors were ignorant of his criminal record. The selection process to sit on the jury consisted of a 52-question survey, which asked respondents what they thought of people with tattoos or folks who frequent night clubs.

The prosecution’s case largely rested on Alexander Bradley, a flawed witness who’s serving a prison sentence for shooting up a club in Hartford. Bradley claims Hernandez shot him in the eye during an altercation in February 2013 –– seven months after Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were murdered in Boston.

Stringer, who stresses the jury didn’t declare Hernandez was “innocent,” said it was difficult to believe Bradley’s version of events. The prosecution offered him immunity to testify against Hernandez, and there were several inconsistencies in his story.

“Then and now, it’s very difficult to sort through what the actual truth is of the matter,” she said. “I’m a person who might be really naive, but I really wanted to believe that every person coming through that courtroom as a witness was telling the truth. … And I don’t think that was the case for several witnesses. But I’ll never know.”

The defense repeatedly attacked Bradley’s character, saying he was the one who pulled the trigger in the drive-by shooting. The case appeared to resonate with members of the jury, who couldn’t agree on Hernandez’s level of involvement.

After the trial concluded, Stringer started to sift through the press coverage she was ordered to avoid. She hoped Hernandez would become a steady presence in his four-year-old daughter’s life, even if he remained behind bars. But those wishes were halted last week when she read about Hernandez’s suicide at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

“It’s just very sad and tragic, and I really just pray for the Furtado and de Abreu families and for Aaron’s daughter,” she said.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, pictured in 2012, has donated tons of time to Best Buddies through the years. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)Tom Brady's time doesn't come cheap.



With the NFL draft coming later this week, certainly rumors are bound to surface, but Adam Schefter continues to dig in — Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded.

Adam Schefter continues to stand by his report that Jimmy Garoppolo will not be dealt. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Adam Schefter continues to stand by his report that Jimmy Garoppolo will not be dealt. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

With the NFL draft coming later this week, certainly rumors are bound to surface, but Adam Schefter continues to dig in — Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded.

On Sunday night Schefter tweeted: Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t going anywhere. His name continues to surface in trade rumors and speculation – not happening.

The week of the NFL combine in late February Schefter said Garoppolo will not be traded and has stood by it ever since. While it is nothing new, the timing is somewhat interesting. In all likelihood, the Patriots have received a number of offers as the draft approaches and this is Schefter’s way of telling everyone it simply will not happen.

While it seems unlikely the Patriots will not pick in the first or second round, as they don’t have a first or second-round pick, it seems almost certain they will not move up because of a Garoppolo trade.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been connected to a number of projected high draft picks. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been connected to a number of projected high draft picks. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

1. Ever since the NFL combine, the Patriots have been connected to a number of top players in the NFL draft. Whether it’s been meetings at the combine, pro days, and even private visits, the Patriots have been around a number of potential first and second-round picks. This is noteworthy considering the team doesn’t have a selection until No. 72 overall. As we wrote about last week, this could be the team is planning on trading into the first or second round, most likely because of a trade of Malcolm Butler, but what if they don’t? There could be another reason for these connections — future knowledge. Look at two players the Patriots traded for this offseason — Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy. While the Patriots didn’t draft them, their pre-draft meetings with them helped with the decision to trade for them years after they were drafted by other teams. “It’s a great resource,” director of player personnel Nick Caserio said at his pre-draft press conference last week. “We rely a lot on that information which is why even though the college process you may be going through and thinking ‘It’s not really integral to this particular player,’ well at some point it’s going to be when we build our database. We have a database of just about every player that’s in the league. So as soon as they go from college to pro all that information transfers over from the college system. So we have all the interviews, all the workouts, all of our grades, all of our background information that we have. So we kind of go back and say ‘OK, let’s look at that information. What did we say coming out? What was the information like?’” Perhaps, all these meetings are just for future knowledge and not this year’s draft. We’ll find out this week.

2. Speaking of Butler, it appears the Patriots are still making efforts to trade him. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Patriots and Saints are expected to continue exploring a deal, but might not be able to agree on compensation. This appears to be a case of the Patriots wanting more in return than the Saints are willing to give. The Saints have picks No. 11 and No. 32 (New England’s which they got for Cooks), which the Patriots are said to be after. One scenario is the Patriots want pick No. 32 and another pick(s), and the Saints just want to part ways with the one pick, or maybe don’t want to part ways with the first-round pick at all. It really is hard to predict what is going to happen considering all the chatter there was last month and now silence, but it would be a big surprise to see the Patriots not pick in the first or second round.

3. The biggest takeaway from Caserio’s pre-draft press conference was the Patriots only have 50-75 players on their draft board. “I’d say it varies year to year,” he said. “I would say our draft board is smaller than most. We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft; not that they aren’t going to get drafted. Look, 300 players or whatever it is are going to get drafted. It’s players that we would draft that actually we would feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity.” Some teams, like the Ravens for example, have said they have closer to 150. This is good insight when it comes to how the Patriots approach the draft. It shows they are very specific in what they want in their draft picks and know not every player is the right fit for their system.

4. Unlike the Bills did with Chris Hogan last year when they didn’t match the Patriots’ offer right away, they are taking their time this year with Mike Gillislee. The Bills have until Monday to match the Patriots’ offer and appears they will take right up until the 4 p.m. deadline, but there are hints they will not match the offer. Veteran Bills writer Vic Carucci predicts the team will not match the deal, and then it’s worth considering the Bills have just six draft picks and not matching the deal would give the team a seventh — in the fifth round. Another incentive not to match the deal. From this viewpoint, ultimately the Bills will not match and Gillislee will be a member of the Patriots.

6. It was a bit unusual to see the Patriots go at the New York Times on Twitter following their White House visit over the pictures they surfaced of the number of Patriots in attendance this year compared to 2015. The Patriots very rarely engage in such matters, especially in public on social media. This one feels like it came from the top and the top being Robert Kraft. The tweet obviously makes President Trump look bad, and Kraft is very close to the president and could have been his way of sticking up for his close friend. Given the normal day-to-day operations of the Patriots it was very out of character, which indicates it came from someone outside the PR department.

7. With the NFL draft being at the end of the week, here are a few draft nuggets related to the Patriots. In Bill Belichick’s 17 years with the franchise, he’s made at least one draft day trade each year except for one (2004). In total, he has made 57 draft day trades — 18 to move up, 19 to move down and 20 involving players and future considerations.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable