NEW BRITAIN, Conn. –
Dennis Hernandez, the troubled brother of the late New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, threatened to kill his estranged wife and her divorce lawyer while struggling with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to new details disclosed in a Connecticut courtroom Tuesday.
Hernandez, who went by DJ while playing football for the University of Connecticut in the mid-2000s, giggled at times during a hearing in New Britain Superior Court as a judge extended a risk protection order barring him from having any contact with his wife and from having any guns, ruling Hernandez remains a danger.
Hernandez remains detained while facing a series of state and federal charges related to numerous alleged threats, including accusations that he may have been planning shootings at UConn and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he once served as quarterbacks coach.
His state case was continued until Aug. 15. He is due in federal court on Aug. 11 on charges including interstate stalking and transmitting interstate communications containing a threat to injure.
Hernandez, 37, was originally arrested in March on misdemeanor breach of peace charges after police say he threw a bag containing a brick and a note over a fence and onto ESPN’s property in Bristol before leaving.
Hernandez did not appear in court as scheduled on July 7. He instead drove that day to UConn’s campus in Storrs and to Brown’s campus in Providence to “map the schools out” for a school shooting, his current girlfriend told police.
Bristol Police Officer Zachary Levine testified Tuesday that UConn police scanned the license plate that day of the vehicle his girlfriend had loaned him. Brown has said that its investigation didn’t indicate Hernandez had been on campus in recent weeks.
Hernandez also is alleged to have threated other people, including anyone who profited from the death of his younger brother. Aaron Hernandez killed himself in 2017 while serving a murder sentence.
According to an arrest report, Dennis Hernandez wrote several threatening text messages including one to a woman close to him that read, “Will I kill? Absolutely.” He also wrote about being angry at UConn coaches and university officials, and warned he was “taking down everything.”
He said he has been dying for years, “and now it’s others peoples turn.”
“Not all shootings are bad I’m realizing,” he wrote.
Bristol police officers arrested Hernandez at the home of his sister in Bristol after his mother told them of the threats and described his deteriorating mental health problems, which she said included bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Levine said. Hernandez was shocked with a stun gun and taken into custody after he came out of the house with his arms raised yelling “shoot me,” the officer testified.
In extending the protective order, Judge Tammy Geathers ruled that there is clear and convincing evidence that Hernandez poses a danger to himself and others.
Hernandez, however, was not deemed a danger to himself or others during a psychiatric exam a day after his arrest at his sister’s home, according to testimony in court Tuesday.