May 4, 2017 / 9:56 PM / 3 months ago

Bible reference written in blood on wall of ex-NFLer Hernandez cell - police

FILE PHOTO - Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez listens as prosecution witness Alexander Bradley testifies at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts April 1, 2015.Brian Snyder/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found with a reference to a Bible verse written in blood on the wall of the prison cell where he hanged himself last month, a state police report released on Thursday said.

A reference to the same verse was also written in ink on his face, the report said.

Police noted that an autopsy found no signs that the former National Football League tight end, who was serving a life prison term for killing an acquaintance at the time of his death, had any illegal drugs in his system.

The words "John 3:16," a reference to the Gospel verse that begins "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son," were written on Hernandez's forehead in ink when prison officials found his body, the Massachusetts State Police report said.

The same words were written in "a substance consistent with blood" on the wall, along with several drawings, in his cell in Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts. A Bible was found left open, with that verse marked in blood, the report said.

A Hernandez family attorney, who is conducting his own investigation into the death, last month dismissed as "ridiculous" local media reports about the Bible reference.

The family lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Officials have also said Hernandez left behind three notes, but have not said to whom they were addressed.

The 27-year-old former athlete hanged himself less than a week after he was cleared of a separate double-murder charge.

Hernandez had a $41 million NFL contract when he was arrested at his home in June 2013 and charged with murder. Prosecution witnesses at his two trials painted a picture of a troubled man with a history of drug use and paranoid tendencies.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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