BOSTON – Jose Baez, the defense attorney for Aaron Hernandez, stood in front of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and alleged that his deceased client’s brain was being illegally held by the commonwealth Thursday afternoon.
Baez maintained that Hernandez’s family members wish to donate his brain to Boston University’s CTE center in order to learn whether Hernandez suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Hernandez, 27, allegedly hanged himself in a jail cell Wednesday morning.
He was serving a life sentence for first degree murder, after playing three seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots.
“If we don’t get answers and answers quickly, we’re going straight to court,” Baez said.
No autopsy results have been made public by the medical examiner. Hernandez’s body was released Thursday but his brain was held by the medical examiner, according to Baez.
“We’re investigating everything,” Baez said. “We’re not rejecting anything. We’re keeping all of our options open, which is what everybody else should be doing.”
Baez labeled his concern a “destruction of evidence issue.” He also charged that there is a “culture of misconduct” by police in Boston.
Baez noted that Hernandez’s family had made arrangements with the medical examiner’s office to transfer Hernandez’s brain to BU’s CTE Center. The stated purpose was to assist in research that might benefit young football players.
“The office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Aaron Hernandez’s death, which may require further analysis of his body,” Dan Bennett, the secretary of public safety and security, said in a statement. “Once that is complete the brain will be released to Boston University. No one is going to stand in the way of the family’s wishes for Boston University to have Aaron Hernandez’s brain.”