April 21 (UPI) -- The family of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who hanged himself in a Massachusetts prison cell where he was serving life without parole for a homicide conviction, said they are seeking a court order to preserve evidence from the state's investigation into his death.
The family's attorney made the motion in a Massachusetts courtroom and a hearing is expected sometime Friday for a judge to rule on the request. The legal maneuver is a common one when families want to conduct their own investigation into the death of a person in state custody.
Hernandez, a Super Bowl-winning tight end with the New England Patriots, was convicted in 2012 of fatally shooting Odin Lloyd. In the wake of that investigation, prosecutors charged Hernandez with two other gang-related slayings, but he was exonerated on those charges days before his death.
The Massachusetts state medical examiner on Thursday officially ruled Hernandez's cause of death suicide by asphyxiation. Prison officials said Hernandez was last seen alive in his prison cell around 8 p.m. Tuesday. He was found hanging by a bed sheet shortly after 3 a.m., having barricaded the door to his cell with cardboard.
Prison officials said Hernandez had written the biblical verse John 3:16 on his forehead and investigators found three notes tucked into a Bible in his cell.
An attorney for Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, Aaron Hernandez's longtime fiancé and mother of his 4-year-old daughter, filed the motion seeking to preserve evidence. The Boston Globe reported the family is seeking to preserve Hernandez's personal belongings, physical evidence related to his death, and prison records of his phone calls, visitors and any interviews conducted with other inmates related to his death.