August 2, 2013 / 5:28 PM / 6 years ago

Ex-NFL player Hernandez says 'not guilty' in jailhouse letter to fan

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is arraigned on charges of murder and weapons violations in Attleborough, Massachusetts, after being arrested, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mike George/Pool

BOSTON (Reuters) - Jailed ex-NFL football player Aaron Hernandez believes God is testing him and that he will eventually be found not guilty of murder, according to a letter he wrote to a fan from jail.

The TMZ website published an image of the handwritten letter on Thursday which it said was obtained from a pen pal of the former New England Patriots tight end. TMZ said the letter was verified by an unnamed law enforcement source.

Hernandez is charged with the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park within a mile of Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

“The world just makes things out of false accusations and it will all die down especially when they say NOT Guilty and all the people who turned on me will feel like crap,” the letter reads.

It continues: “I fell off especially after making all that money but when it’s all said and done ‘God’ put me in the situation for some reason! I’m humbled by this ALREADY and this will change me forever.”

Hernandez’s attorney, Michael Fee of Boston law firm Ropes & Gray, did not respond to voicemail or email messages seeking comment on the authenticity of the letter.

An official at the Bristol County Jail said the image TMZ published of the letter’s envelope appeared to confirm it came from the facility, but that he could not confirm the letter was in Hernandez’s handwriting.

Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Bernard Orr

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