The vetting of Aaron Hernandez's spotty past has continued and, well, things still aren't looking great for the former New England Patriots star. There's the damning pre-draft psych test, an even more detailed history of trouble, a dead witness, a behind-bars marriage, and now almost unredacted police reports tying him to a 2007 double shooting. Just another day in the twisting saga of the bad-boy tight end turned accused assassin.
As we predicted yesterday, the vetting of Aaron Hernandez and his history of violence has begun, and this time it's more than just a fight spawned by a sucker punch outside a Gainsville bar. ESPN's Outside the Lines dug up the police reports about the 2007 double shooting to which Hernandez has been connected. Hernandez was a minor at the time, so his name is redacted throughout most of the report, but this is what they could come up with: Florida Gators teammates Aaron Hernandez, Mike Pouncey, Maurkice Pouncey, and UF alumnus Reggie Nelson (then a Jacksonville Jaguars rookie) went to the Venue nightclub in Gainesville, Florida on September 30, 2007. While partying in the club, according to the police report, Hernandez told Nelson about Randall Cason, another patron, who he said had stolen his necklace. They had beef, essentially. When Cason left with two friends, Corey Smith and Justin Glass, their car was fired upon while stopped a few blocks later. Two men approached the vehicle and shots rang out. Cason originally fingered Hernandez and Nelson as the shooters:
Cason, then 20, told police that shooter was a "Hawaiian" or "Hispanic" male who had a large muscular build, stood about 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, weighed about 230 or 240 pounds and had a lot of tattoos. Cason said there was also a black male with the shooter, and Cason identified the black male as Reggie Nelson, a former Florida Gator who was a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nelson, in an interview with the Gainesville police, said he had been at the nightclub earlier but denied he was even on the same street as the shooting.
But Cason later reneged that claim, on the same day police went to interview Hernandez, who refused to speak with them without a lawyer present. Massachusetts police have asked that any and all information relating to this case be turned over for their investigation into Hernandez's involvement in the killing of semi-pro football player and Hernandez's friend-through-girlfriends Odin Loyd. But the cops also have to worry about their own witnesses getting married or, potentially, going cold.
The Hartford Courant reports a man police were looking for in the Lloyd case died in a single car accident on Sunday evening, driving a car registered under Hernandez's uncle's name. Investigators were ready to speak with Thaddeus Singleton III, a 33-year-old with a rap sheet full of drug convictions, about his relation to Hernandez. Then, Sunday night, the car he was driving "shot 100 feet through the air and hit the Farmington Country Club 6 feet off the ground." There was a passenger in the car, too, who survived the crash. There's no evidence suggesting the crash was suspect in any way, but it's hard not to look at the the timing.
Elsewhere, the psychological profile of Hernandez is also growing, along with the documenting his history of violence. The Wall Street Journal reports Hernandez received the lowest possible score, a one out of ten, on a pre-NFL draft psychological test under "social maturity." While he received high marks for all of the football related categories, the test painted him as enjoying "living on the edge of acceptable behavior." It warned he could become "a problem" later in his career.
Hernandez was once revered in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut, but now citizens clam up whenever his name is mentioned. But it's another day with Hernandez behind bars, so the investigation into his personal life continues: there's the panicked 911 call and a marriage that could potentially help his case. The sheriff in charge Bristol County prison, where Hernandez is being held, wants to keep him from marrying his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, so that she may testify at his trial. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told USA Today he was planning to "do everything we can to not have that happen." Jenkins was talking to investigators until she spoke with Hernandez, who told her to keep quiet. If they marry while Hernandez is behind bars, she would be shielded from testifying against him. The two have a seven-month old daughter together.
Correction: this report originally said two people were killed in the shooting. In fact, all parties survived. We regret the confusion.