The brain of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was found hanged in his prison cell days after he was acquitted in a double murder trial, will be released to researchers from Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center for a study about possible brain trauma.
This move to donate the former New England Patriots player‘s brain to science comes after his family accused officials of refusing to release it, despite turning over the rest of his body to a funeral home on Thursday.
“Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes,” said District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. in a statement.
Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez told the Associated Press that the family will be seeking an independent autopsy but declined to say whether he or the family believed brain damage from his playing days led the 27-year-old to kill himself.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating his fiancee’s sister. He was discovered hanging in his cell by correction officers earlyWednesday morning.