FALL RIVER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson confirmed for FOX 25 that former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was involved in a jailhouse altercation with another inmate.
Now, TMZ Sports reports that Hernandez was not in handcuffs when he got into a fight with another inmate, whose hands were restrained in handcuffs at the time. Hodgson did not comment on that.
The sheriff said an investigation is underway, and it could result in more criminal charges against Hernandez.
The former Patriot is being held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction on murder and weapons charges in the death of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez is in the special management area of the jail, meaning he is separated from other inmates. According to TMZ Sports, another inmate, who is housed in the same area, had been verbally harassing Hernandez all day Tuesday.
Sometime Tuesday afternoon, Hernandez was walking in a secured hallway when he came into contact with the same inmate who was bothering him. That's when the altercation took place.
Hodgson says there were no significant injuries and medical attention was not needed for either party. He added that standard procedure is that only one inmate should be out at a time, so they are looking into whether there was "systemic failure."
When asked whether or not Hernandez and the other inmate knew each other prior to their stay in the correctional facility, Hodgson said he had no knowledge of that and he was awaiting a report from his investigators.
"The sheriff wants to keep a safe environment and wants to project to the outside world that even inmates, even people who are accused or people in the House of Corrections who are convicted of crimes have rights to be safe and protected," Legal analyst Brad Bailey said. "And if he feels he needs to send that message out there and if he thinks the incident was serious enough, sure he'll refer it out for prosecution and it'll be up to the Bristol County DA's office and they'll take it forward."
Bailey said, that if convicted for assault, the maximum penalty is two and a half years in a House of Correction. He added that it is highly unlikely that information about this altercation will make it to the murder trial.
Hodgson said that the altercation is still under investigation and no punishment has been given. However, whenever there is an rule violation, especially an alleged assault case, the parties involved will get sent to a higher restricted unit, where there isn't as much time outside of the cell. That's normal procedure during an investigation
Hernandez is in a restrictive unit, he has one hour a day outside of his cell, Hodgson said. In his previous unit, he had three hours a day outside of his cell.
Hodgson said they are still looking at the tapes of the altercation.
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