(SL) — Funeral services were held for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. The 27-year-old Hernandez reportedly took his own life in a Massachusetts prison cell last week, where he was serving a life sentence for murder. Today’s services for Hernandez in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut were by invitation only. A private burial will take place at a later date.
In related news, the family of the former New England Patriots tight end will gain access to three handwritten notes that the player allegedly wrote before he killed himself, a lawyer for the family said Monday.
Attorney George Leontire told reporters early Monday afternoon that a Bristol Superior Court judge in New Bedford, Mass., ordered the release of the notes to the family, the Boston Globe reported.
The legal action came minutes before funeral services were scheduled to. As part of his motion, Leontire said Hernandez’s family deserved “know their loved one’s final thoughts” and termed it a necessary part of the “grieving process.”
Superior Court Judge Thomas F. McGuire Jr., in an order to the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., wrote that “the note(s) shall be produced in time for the family to have them for his burial, which is scheduled for this afternoon.”
A spokesman for Early’s office said copies of the notes were being prepared to send to Hernandez’s family. As part of McGuire’s order, the district attorney was to redact any information that would be pertinent to an ongoing investigation into Hernandez’s death.
Guards discovered the 27-year-old Hernandez in his single cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m. ET last Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about an hour later.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd. The state medical examiner officially ruled it a suicide on Thursday, but his family doesn’t believed that Hernandez took his own life. Three handwritten notes were found in the cell but the contents weren’t immediately released. John 3:16 had also been written on the former NFL starts forehead.
While Leontire said he did not know who the recipients of the notes were, the newspaper reported that one of them was addressed to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and another to their 4-year-old daughter.
Prior to his death, reports claimed he had been in a few altercations with gang members in the prison. The 27-year old reportedly was found naked, hanging in his cell. Thoughts of foul play have been shared but until a complete investigation is complete no one will know.