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Convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez commits suicide in prison

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Former New England Patriot and University of Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, just days after a legal victory, killed himself in his cell early Wednesday morning.

Hernandez, serving a life sentence without parole, was acquitted in a double-homicide last week. His attorney pledged to fight his prior conviction and expressed confidence that Hernandez, 27, would be free again.

The attorney, Jose Diaz, said he did not believe Hernandez committed suicide. He would conduct his own investigation, Diaz said.

Hernandez hanged himself with his bedsheet, authorities said.

A fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Florida, Hernandez caught 175 passes in three seasons. At one point, he signed a $40 million extension with the team. Upon his arrest, the Patriots released him.

Former Florida coach Urban Meyer attempted to distance himself from Hernandez.

Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible,” Meyer said last week.

Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide [Hernandez],” he added.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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