Information regarding Aaron Hernandez's potential drug use was hidden from his lawyers and family and redacted from the 132-page public report following his April 2017 suicide, Beth Healy of The Boston Globereports.
According to an inmate interview from the day Hernandez died that was partially concealed, the former New England Patriots tight end was smoking K2, or synthetic marijuana, in the days leading up to his death.
When inmates were interviewed on April 19, 2017, one was mentioned in the report saying, "What do you do when you get good news? You celebrate, right?" in reference to Hernandez being found not guilty of a 2012 double murder just five days prior.
What the inmate said next was blacked out in the version of the report made available to the public. George Leontire, a lawyer for Hernandez, his fiancee and his daughter, were able to obtain an unredacted version of the report in light of The Globe'sseries of stories on Hernandez and the attempts by Hernandez's lawyers to gain access to the records from the Department of Correction for more than a year.
"Well he's spent the last two days smoking K2 in his cell and he wasn't in the right frame of mind," the inmate said in the previously hidden section of the report. "That s--- is [expletive] all these young kids up. There aren't going to stop no matter what happens in here."
In the days following Hernandez's death, the chief medical examiner performed an autopsy and toxicology tests were done by the outside laboratory NMS Labs of Willow Grove, Pa. The State Police reported on May 4, 2017, that Hernandez's blood came back clean "for all substances tested to include synthetic cannabinoids" in the toxicology tests.
Department of Correction spokesman Jason Dobson told The Globe that officials from the department "fully disclosed all information known" to the State Police investigating Hernandez's death. He also explained why the information on Hernandez's alleged K2 use was blacked out of the report initially.
"A separate investigation was ongoing into suspected drug activity [at the prison]," Dobson told The Globe. "The section was redacted so as not to compromise that investigation."
Leontire said the Department of Correction veiling the allegations of drug use "was a further attempt to cover up wrongdoing."
This new information, along with a tip from an informant about Hernandez smoking K2 in his cell with another inmate days before his death that was also reported by The Globe, show officials were told at least twice about Hernandez's alleged prison drug use.
Hernandez, who suffered from the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) for somebody his age, according Boston University researchers, was in prison serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
Inmates said Hernandez had become more "spiritual" in the days leading up to his death although he had not been known to be a religious person. When he was found hanged in his cell, there were religious writings and symbols written on the walls, the Bible was open to "John 3:16" on his desk and "3:16" was written on Hernandez's forehead in blood.
That scene played a role in people questioning just where Hernandez's mental state might have been at the time of his death. According to The Globe, religious delusions and psychosis can be effects of K2.