Aaron Hernandez was acquitted on double murder charges Friday. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson possess an unique insight into Aaron Hernandez. The ex-NFL star was housed at the Bristol County House of Corrections for nearly two years, before he was transferred to the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass. shortly after he was charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting.
In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday, Hodgson said he spotted sociopathic tendencies in Hernandez, who law enforcement says committed suicide in his prison cell Wednesday morning.
“I’ve always sort of known Aaron Hernandez to be somebody who’s been able to completely control –– almost like a mental trap –– things that he let in and let out,” he said. “I’m wondering, and of course I’m not a psychologist –– I don’t have any background in it –– I do think he had some sociopathic tendencies. For all of the time he was here, he never showed much in the way of emotion. It was always sort of very controlled. He was controlled about everything. He had a magnetic personality and knew how to use it to manipulate and get things. But more importantly, he just never really was allowing himself to feel any sort of emotion.”
The timing of Hernandez’s suicide is curious, considering he was acquitted five days ago on double murder charges. But Hodgson said he thinks the weight of the verdict may have broken Hernandez down.
“I just wonder if when that jury, because I remember saying to the special sheriff here when I saw the verdict, ‘I’m shocked to see him showing any emotion on this verdict.’ I wonder, and there’s a million theories, I wonder if in fact when that jury acquitted him, that that somehow created a vulnerability in that mental trap, whereby for maybe once in a long time, a group of people really believed in him or believed in the outcome of that verdict, which was a positive thing for him, and that may have been something that just –– who knows.”
Hodgson described Hernandez’s manipulative personality, saying he would attempt to goad guards into providing him with items he was barred from possessing. If Hernandez started calling guards by their first names, they would be removed from his unit.
“Aaron Hernandez was the best I’ve ever seen in terms of manipulating, being able to cajole, use his personality to sort of make you believe he was somebody very different,” Hodgson said.
Though Hernandez often didn’t express emotion, Hodgson said he encouraged the former Patriots tight end to reach out to his deceased father, who passed away in 2006. In the end, Hodgson explained Hernandez never appeared comfortable with his life as a professional football player.
“He never really could transition into the Patriots’ world. He wouldn’t go out to dinner with a guy like Brady or people like that, because he just didn’t fit in that world,” he said. “I think he used the Patriots as a way to raise his stature in the real world that he always lived in. That was just a means by which he could –– you know, he made money and of course he could elevate himself in his real world –– which was very different from the professional football world.”