Ink Murder Link? Prosecutors Eye Aaron Hernandez’s Tattoos

NBC News, June 5, 2014

Teardrops for murders. Spider webs for prison time. Penal code numbers for crimes committed.

Criminals have long used tattoos as indelible ink on their own bodily rap sheet. And for just as long, police have used tattoos as a way to identify suspects, a distinguishing characteristic to jog a memory or catch the public’s eye.

But only rarely does body art play a pivotal role as evidence posited as proof of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors trying to convict former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez in a pair of homicide cases could try to use the one-time football star’s tattoos against him: they are seeking the artists who worked on Hernandez, saying they could be witnesses.

Criminal justice experts, however, say it’s hard for law enforcement to determine whether someone with a tattoo linked to a kind of crime actually did the deed. As Todd Bettencourt, a tattoo artist in North Attleborough, Massachusetts–the town where Hernandez was living at the time of the killings–said, “Some people just get it because it’s cool.”

Much of Hernandez’s upper body is covered in tattoos: The open-mouthed face of a lion sits atop his right bicep, ringed by the words “It’s about the fight in you;” “1989,” his birth year, spans the fingers of his left hand and a 10-word phrase favored by his father, “If it is to be it is up to me,” runs down his left forearm.

It is Hernandez’s right forearm that has piqued the interest of investigators, though they will not specify exactly which design they have focused on.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting two men–Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado–and wounding a third in Boston in July 2012. He also is charged in last year’s killing of Odin Lloyd, whose body was found near Hernandez’s home. And he is being sued by an associate who says Hernandez shot him in the eye in Miami last year.

Photos of Hernandez show he has had five stars and other tattoo work added to his right forearm over the past few years. While many star tattoos have nothing to do with crime, they can sometimes be used to represent killings, said Kevin Waters, a criminal justice professor at Northern Michigan University and former agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.


Hernandez has said that all his tattoos have personal meaning. The stars on his right forearm surround a tattoo depicting being in God’s hands, which he told USA Today in 2009 was meant as a nod to his older brother and late father.


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  • Half of the filthy feetsball chuckers in the NFL (Negro Felon League) probably should be in prison, many for life. That $126 million mulatto QB for San Francisco is as inked as any, yet stupid white people worship his sorry butt, resulting in the record contract. There are probably some in Boston who would take this evil clown back on the team, no matter how many murders he’s done.

    There are some things white people have no control over, such as forced integration and Eric Holder’s pea-brained pograms aimed at us. One thing we can control is Negro worship. I will never see a game live nor will I watch one on TV. Not to be narcissistic, but every white person should follow my example and put these thugs out of business.

    • Puggg

      That one in San Francisco is supposed to be a praise the Lord Christian.

      • I thought I read that he was accused of rape (surprise!) of a white girl in the last couple of months. If I have time, I’ll look it up and edit this comment with the results.

        • Thomas Parker

          The Miami police could not prove a rape occurred. Kaepernick is free.

    • Pro_Whitey

      Well, Hernandez is accused of killing three blacks . . .I’m kidding, come on!

  • Murderer or not, there’s just something not quite right about anyone who gets that much ink.

    This reminds me a little of that show that was on last decade, Prison Break. The big difference is that there, the tattoo helped them break out of prison.

    • propagandaoftruth

      “Hernandez has said that all his tattoos have personal meaning.”

      Like those he’s personally killed?

  • dd121

    And I thought football kept a lot of bad boys out of prison. The dark skins don’t seem to have the mental capacity to see that football doesn’t grant them a license to kill.

  • Ahnenerbe ᛟ

    His tattoos are irrelevant, why not make a article about the dangers of GMO/Roundup foods and/or hydraulic fracturing? There is a lot more important events pertaining to people everyday lives than a millionaire football players tattoos and his gangbanging of other colored miscreants.

  • IstvanIN

    What kind of culture have we imported?

  • r j p

    …. and a 10-word phrase favored by his father, “If it is to be it is up to me,” runs down his left forearm.

    Is is possible to create a longer sentence composed of only two letter words?
    I suppose it was probably a feat for his father but I am unimpressed.

    • [Guest]

      The words are teeny-tiny, but the grandiloquence is in the rhyme.

      • r j p

        grandiloquence is 14 letters.

        I think that would be a tough word for Hernandez’s father.

  • LHathaway

    This is a tragedy. Hispanics have, what, 10 players in the professional NFL. How else will they jump start their economy with 1 less in point of light in the pro league? He should be given leniency if not let off entirely.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Never underestimate the stupidity of these idiots. They brag all over the place about their crimes and even ink them on their bodies – right for the cops to see!
    They think they’re smarter than the cops because that’s what they see on TV and hear in their degenerate “hate cops” music, criminals outsmarting cops.

    This one, out of Los Angeles, inked a murder he’s committed right on his chest.

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      This should tell the world what he thinks is obvious. For him the law is just another gang, only better organized and capable of sequestering them into a controlled zone of business (prison). This guy’s normal is a twisted horror fantasy for the rest of us. He inks his legacy onto himself because he has nothing else.

      He has no other future. There will be no monuments to this guy, so he becomes one in his own lifetime. Every dollars’ worth of ink on that guy was likely paid for with stolen money. Does this look like a college graduate with a $100K job?

      What he does look like though is his heritage. He looks like he’d be right at home sacrificing enemies beating hearts to a sun god. This mentality is natural for him. And yet, we want this to enrich our culture? I leave it to the leftists to explain what I gain from this guy’s way of thinking? It would have had value a century ago as we headed into a long string of wars.

      But in modern society this man’s murderous thinking is only an indication of our failure. And this failure was brought about because we refused to hold “guests” like him to the standards that white Americans MUST uphold. Ink used to be marks of honor. There is nothing honorable about this man’s conquests in the civilized western world.

      But then, he is not from the civilized western world. He’s a sickness that invades it.

      • Rhialto

        Political Science for $200, Alex, “Is the law is just another gang, only better organized and capable of sequestering a government’s enemies into a controlled zone of business (prison)? “

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    I can’t stand tattoos in general. It seems to be more the norm than the exception for whites under 40 to have them these days. This seems to be a preoccupation with American whites mostly….thank goodness the Europeans don’t think this is trendy yet.

    • LHathaway

      I agree completely, Courtney. I’m not sure why (perhaps Christianity), but this kind of thing does bother me. I’ve even seen huge tattoos extolling bible verses. Stop the Insanity! Is what I say. . .

    • Alexandra1973

      As I said in another thread, they look bad enough on men…really bad on women. It just screams “trashy.”

      And again, that’s my opinion.

    • Truthseeker

      I can’t stand them either. Some of us White men would love a beautiful woman with pure White skin, but they’re becoming harder to find. I don’t want to look at that ugly garbage on one of God’s masterpieces.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      I find them repulsive, on women especially but many men look revolting too because they have them all over their arms, torso and God knows where else. To me, a woman with pale, clear and tattoo free skin is beautiful, but when they tat themselves up they look like someone scrawled all over them with felt tip markers. I hope there’s women who appreciate the men who choose not to tattoo themselves, I am one of them. I already have quite a few scars from lacerations, burns and skin cancer being excised, tattooing myself is something I never had any interest in.

      • CourtneyfromAlabama

        I don’t have any tattoos. I agree that it is also very unappealing on the opposite sex (whichever sex that may be).

        I went into a sandwich shop once, and there behind the counter was a guy with his arms folded across his chest, and on his arms were countless green and black tattoos. I almost lost my appetite and wanted to walk out. Why would I want to eat somewhere where someone who looks like a giant frog is preparing the food?

        • Zaporizhian Sich

          Ugh, I would have walked out and never came back.

    • dukem1

      Someday soon someone will invent an inexpensive, efficient way to remove tattoos…And they will make a fortune.

  • Standup Broad

    This 22 year-old was given a contract that guaranteed him ONE POINT NINE MILLION dollars over four years. All he had to do was show up and keep his nose clean. You just cannot fix stupid.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    It seems like excessive use of primitive looking tribal markings have taken a stranglehold of the psyches of many white Americans. I see tattoos on the neck, bustlines, hands, legs , wrists, backs and covering the arms of many whites. You would think that something that is favored to even a larger degree among blacks and hispanics would be a warning signal to most whites that maybe this is something that they should remain above, but, sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case these days.