Aaron Josef Hernandez (November 6, 1989 – April 19, 2017) was an American football tight end in the National Football League (NFL) and convicted murderer. A productive player during his three seasons with the New England Patriots, his career came to an abrupt end after his arrest and conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Recognized as an All-American at the University of Florida, Hernandez was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Alongside teammate Rob Gronkowski, he formed one of the league's most dominant tight-end duos, becoming the first pair of tight ends to score at least five touchdowns each in consecutive seasons for the same team. He made one Super Bowl appearance in XLVI.
During the 2013 off-season, Hernandez was arrested and charged for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. Following his arrest, he was immediately released by the Patriots. Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2015 and sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. While on trial for Lloyd's murder, he was also indicted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, but was acquitted after a 2017 trial.
Days after being acquitted of the double homicide, Hernandez was found dead in his cell. His death was ruled a suicide. His conviction for Lloyd's murder was initially vacated under the doctrine of abatement ab initio because Hernandez died during its appeal, but was reinstated in 2019 following an appeal from prosecutors and the Lloyd family. After his death, he was diagnosed with severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which may have affected his actions and been a contributing factor in some of his criminal behavior.