Aaron Josef Hernandez (November 6, 1989 – April 19, 2017) was an American football tight end and convicted murderer. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for three seasons with the New England Patriots until his career came to an abrupt end after his arrest and conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
An All-American at the University of Florida, Hernandez was selected 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 Super Bowl XLVI.
During the 2013 offseason, Hernandez was arrested and charged for the murder of Lloyd, a semi-professional linebacker who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. Following his arrest, Hernandez was immediately released by the Patriots. He was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. While on trial for Lloyd's murder, Hernandez was also indicted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado; he was acquitted after a 2017 trial.
Days after being acquitted of the double homicide, Hernandez was found dead in his cell, which 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 Lloyd's family. Hernandez was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has led to speculation over how the condition may have affected his behavior.