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Bristol County Sheriff, Massachusetts governor react to Hernandez’s death

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said he was surprised to hear of Aaron Hernandez’s death. (WJAR)

Aaron Hernandez was said to have hanged himself in his cell with a bed sheet early Wednesday morning.

Following the former NFL star’s death, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is speaking out about the news.

Baker said his suicide begs the question of inmate safety, so the governor wants to look into inmate suicide rates in prisons throughout the Bay State.

“The case of Aaron Hernandez is such a terrible tragedy for so many families and people who have been devastated by this,” Baker told NBC 10 News. “And, obviously, the Department of Corrections is going to do a full-scale investigation into what happened and when.”

Baker also pointed out that inmate suicide rates have drastically decreased in the past few years, but his goal is always to keep that number at zero.

Meanwhile, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said he was surprised to hear of Hernandez’s death.

The sheriff spent time with Hernandez while he served about 18 months at the Bristol County Jail before he was moved to a prison in Shirley, where he was found dead of an apparent suicide Wednesday morning.

During his time in Bristol, Hodgson said he encouraged Hernandez to read. He said two of the books that Hernandez read were the Bible and “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

The sheriff told NBC 10 when Hernandez left the jail, he handed him a note that said "God writes straight with crooked lines."

Hodgson said he was shocked to hear reports that Hernandez had taken his life.

“I was surprised because I really have always seen him as somebody that has been very controlling around his feelings and what he wanted to entertain and what he didn't. He was very good at it -- the best I've ever seen,” Hodgson said. “The Patriots was just a means by which he could raise his stature in his real world. He never left his real world. So for him I think he was comfortable with people that were in the system. He sort of made that his community.”

NBC 10 legal analyst Mark Dana said Hernandez’s murder conviction is likely to disappear because of his death. Dana said it’s because Hernandez had not exhausted his legal appeals. It means that in the eyes of the state of Massachusetts, Dana explained, Hernandez likely died an innocent man even though he was convicted in 2014 of murdering Odin Lloyd.

Dana said once the motion to vacate is granted, Hernandez will be deemed an innocent man.

Dana also said he expects Hernandez's family will file a civil suit against the Department of Corrections.

“I think that there will be a civil case that arises from this,” Dana said. “I'd be surprised if there wasn't a civil case that arises from this. He has a bedsheet that could be used as a noose. He is left alone. And as a result he's in the hands of the DOC. They're responsible to make sure that he's safe. So I would be very surprised if the family did not file suit in this case.”

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