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15 January 2020 16:37

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez: The true story of how a $40 million NFL player became a killer

(CNN) The strange case of Aaron Hernandez--the pro football player convicted of murder, before committing suicide--remains tantalizing enough to have inspired a pair of three-part documentaries this month. Netflix's "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" makes a more valiant effort to find the truth, at least in terms of probing causes of his behavior. "Aaron Hernandez: An ID Murder Mystery," a more dutiful tick-tock of the criminal trial (its primary sources are journalists who followed the case), complete with the usual cheesy reenactments--a tactic, unfortunately, that "Killer Inside" also employs, just a bit more judiciously. A star athlete in Bristol, Conn., Hernandez grew up with a stern father who also played football, becoming a standout in high school and at Florida before being signed by the New England Patriots. Somehow, the filmmakers behind Netflix's Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, obtained most of the late Patriots tight end's calls from the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center—which is where he was detained after being convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2015.

Killer Inside spreads the calls throughout the documentary's three episodes, from asking his wife to send him "Harry Potters" and saying goodnight to his daughter, to yelling at his estranged mother because he felt like she hurt their family and wanted too much of his money. The calls give us our fullest look at Hernandez yet—a guy who could joke about how Nike wouldn't put a swoosh on an orange prison jumpsuit, even after the crime he committed. The new Netflix documentary, which is available to stream today, revisits the Lloyd murder, as well as Hernandez's alleged involvement in the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado over a spilled drink. (He was found not guilty.) And, of course, what doctors found after Hernandez died of suicide in 2017: One of the most devastating cases of CTE ever discovered, and the worst ever diagnosed in a man as young as 27 years old. In 2018 Dennis SanSoucie, Hernandez's high school football teammate, told The Boston Globe 's Spotlight team that he had a hidden sexual relationship with him.

Instead of adding to the speculation, Killer Inside talks to former Patriots lineman Ryan O'Callaghan, who is one of the only openly gay former NFL players. O'Callaghan tells his story of hiding his sexuality throughout his football career, once considering suicide an inevitability. We talked to the director of Killer Inside, Geno McDermott, about whether or not Hernandez's crime was inevitable, if the Patriots organization is at fault in any way, and why he saw the docuseries as a chance to tell O'Callaghan's story. GENO MCDERMOTT: Yeah, I think when we first met to make the film there was a lot of salacious reporting being done about Aaron and his sexuality. Once Aaron's sexuality became substantiated, we wanted to explore that, and we wanted to hear perspectives of people like Ryan [O'Callaghan] who were closeted in the NFL, and what that was like.

When he was playing football, he was expected to be a straight guy, and we feel like Aaron went through some of the same stuff based on what he hear from his childhood and through people like Dennis [SanSoucie], who he had a relationship with. There's so much sports in it, and I think that you can say the same about other topics like sexuality, you know? BL: Right, and the other thing that surprised me is the access that you were able to get—it seems like you go the entirety of his personal phone calls from prison. Everything that went into the piece, like Aaron talking about being shot up, that's him saying that—that's nothing that we're producing. ESQ: There's someone in the documentary who wonders whether or not Aaron's crimes were more of a ticking time bomb, or something that could have been fixed.

I don't think I saw an active Patriots player in the documentary. ESQ: Why have an Aaron Hernandez documentary of this scope and length a couple years after his death? GM: I think the why now is it just takes time to put these together, and the phone calls, you know they weren't available to us right away. Dennis speaks about his relationship with his high school best friend in the new doc (Picture: Netflix) Netflix's new documentary Killer Inside: The Mind Of Aaron Hernandez sees the NFL player's high school best friend declare they were in a sexual relationship together. Dennis SanSoucie comes forward about his relationship with Hernandez, who would go on to play for the New England Patriots before being convicted of killing his sister-in-law's boyfriend, from the ages of 13-15.

Aaron and I had an on-and-off relationship from the seventh grade to the junior year of high school. Aaron and Dennis SanSousie were best friends in high school (Picture: Netflix) Dennis claims he was 'one of many' sexual partners of the high school footballer (Picture: Netflix) The revelation comes as Aaron's background is explained in more detail in the three-part documentary, which looks at the unique psychological aspect of killer Aaron, who shot Odin Lloyd dead a mile away from his home in 2013. More: Netflix Cheer coach Monica Aldama opens up on fears over Netflix series in Instagram post Killer Inside: Remembering Odin Lloyd - the victim shot and killed by Aaron Hernandez Is technology making time go quicker? Convicted of Lloyd's murder, Hernandez was found dead by suicide in his prison cell in 2017. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is available now on Netflix. On Wednesday, Netflix released their new Aaron Hernandez documentary, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, a three-part deep dive into the life and career of the convicted murderer and former NFL player. In the first episode, high school quarterback Dennis SanSoucie alleges that he and Hernandez were in "an on and off-relationship from seventh grade to junior year of high school," and during that time, they "experimented" with one another. In Killer Inside, SanSoucie describes his years-long friendship with Hernandez, which first began on the football field. The duo attended Bristol Central High School in Connecticut, where they dominated with SanSoucie at quarterback and Hernandez as tight end; off the field, they smoked weed together and played around. "Aaron and I had an on and off-relationship from the seventh grade to junior year of high school," he alleges. "At that time frame, the girls didn't really hang out with the boys after school, so, you know, me and Aaron experimented," continues SanSoucie. But at the time you don't look at it like that," he says, adding that there weren't many "kids out of the closet" at their high school. While The Killer Inside is ultimately focused on explaining Hernandez's murderous turn — he was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2015, and in 2017, he committed suicide in prison — the question of his sexuality is a major point of the docuseries. The Netflix Aaron Hernandez documentary suggests that the former New England Patriot repressed his queer identity throughout his lifetime, both as a young football player and later in prison, and that the stress of hiding his true self contributed to his downfall. Watch Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez on Netflix Netflix has just released its latest true crime documentary, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. The three part docuseries explores his early life and crimes as well as including exclusive courtroom footage and tapes of Hernandez's phone calls from prison. Aaron Hernandez was tipped as one of the best NFL players of his generation, but then he was in prison for murder. Both of his parents were also arrested and involved in crime during Aaron Hernandez's life. Growing up, it is also reported that Aaron Hernandez was sexually abused by an older child. At high school, Aaron Hernandez became a successful NFL player Aaron went to Bristol Central High School, where he played as a wide receiver, then a tight end, and also played defensive end for Bristol Rams football team. In the early hours of the morning on April 20th 2011, the police were called to a fight at the house Aaron Hernandez was renting at the time. The police are said to have recognised Hernandez outside his home where the fight was taking place, and told the pair to go indoors. In 2012, Aaron Hernandez was investigated over a double murder In July 2012 Aaron was investigated over a double murder outside a club in Boston. But after evidence showed Aaron was in the club for less than 10 minutes, there were contradicting witness statements and the police investigation was deemed poor, Hernandez was acquitted of the murders. Aaron Hernandez signed a $40 million deal with New England Patriots in 2012 In August of 2012, Aaron Hernandez was signed by the New England Patriots. Aaron Hernandez died in 2017 Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is available to stream on Netflix now. • Netflix's new chilling true crime is about an NFL player who killed three men