Before his prison suicide in 2017, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez may have tearfully admitted to his mother that he was attracted to men.
“He’s like, ‘Mom, you’re going die never knowing your son,'” his brother, Jonathan Hernandez, told Dr. Oz in his first interview since the release of the three-part Netflix documentary Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.
“Then all of a sudden they have this conversation, and they’re both flooded with tears across from each other,” Jonathan said. The emotional conversation took place during a prison visit.
Jonathan recalled how his mother had to witness the weight her son carried through “scratched glass and seeing your son, who you would have never anticipated him ever being in this situation.”
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Hernandez was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez‘s sister. As he awaited trial, he was charged with the fatal drive-by shootings of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado.
He was convicted of Lloyd’s murder and sentenced to life in prison; he was acquitted of the double homicide in April 2017 and days later was found dead in his prison cell after hanging himself with a bedsheet. He was 27.
Jenkins-Hernandez, 30, appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday and said that questions about Hernandez’s sexuality should not have been included in the documentary, which chronicles the athlete’s life, leading up to his arrest and suicide in prison in 2017.
“You can’t describe someone’s sexuality without them being here,” she said. “Although I have had a child with Aaron, I still can’t tell you what he was feeling inside, no one can.”
In a 2018 interview, Jonathan told PEOPLE that the athlete suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse before devolving into a life of violence.
“He had a lot of things happen, both good and bad,” Jonathan said. “People think they know about my brother, but they really don’t. They know what they saw in the news, but they don’t know all the struggles he faced.”
When asked by Dr. Oz if he believed his little brother would have been able to confide in his late father, Dennis Hernandez, Jonathan replied, “I don’t know if he would have been able to finish his sentence.”
“I can’t imagine him even being able to,” said, adding, “My dad would have thought he could beat that out of him.”
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is now streaming on Netflix.
Hernandez’s life was also the subject of ID Channel’s three-part documentary Aaron Hernandez: An ID Murder Mystery, which is available to stream on IDGo.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.