Souza-Baranowski state prison in Shirley, Mass., where Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his cell on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

The Massachusetts state prison where Aaron Hernandez was found hanged early Wednesday morning in his cell is a high security facility with “maximum external and internal control and supervision of inmates," according to the state website.

So, what happened?

So far, state officials have only said that the former New England Patriots star tight end and convicted murderer, was found hanging in his prison cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, early Wednesday morning. The 27-year-old was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital a short time later.

"Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window," the Massachusetts corrections commission said in a statement. "Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items."


Hernandez, who had just been acquitted at trial on Friday of a separate double-homicide, was not on suicide watch, prison officials said, and did not leave a note.

The Massachusetts state website lists the different levels of prison security, with maximum being the highest. At that level, the website says, "supervision of inmates is direct and constant."

Souza-Baranowski is a max-level prison, which houses 1,000 inmates, and is about 50 miles northwest of Boston. It is the newest facility in the state prison system. The 500,000-square-foot prison opened in 1998, and at the time, incorporated "the highest degree of technical integration of any prison in the country," according to the state website. The prison also incorporates one of the largest camera systems in the country, according to the state, involving 366 cameras recording live 24 hours a day. 

Massachusetts State Police are investigating the death along with the Worcester County District Attorney's Office and the Department of Correction, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. said in a statement.

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