Franklin Graham has weighed in on the suicide of convicted killer Aaron Hernandez and said the death of the former New England Patriots star should serve as a sobering reminder of sin's consequences.
After news broke that Hernandez hanged himself in his Massachusetts prison cell on Wednesday, just days after being acquitted of double murder, Graham, the 64-year-old leader of Samaritan's Purse encouraged his 5.5 million Facebook followers to pray his victims' families and his young daughter.
"Aaron's story is a reminder to all of us of how quickly we can do something that could alter our lives forever," Graham said. "Sin has serious consequences. We have all been found guilty of sin in our lives, and sin has an eternal penalty-death."
Thankfully, God has granted us a full pardon from our death sentence, available only by faith in His Son Jesus Christ," Graham said.
"Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved-forgiven, with the hope of heaven. My question to you on Facebook is--Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you invited him into your heart? If not, you can do it right now by praying this prayer: Dear God, I have sinned. I am so sorry. Forgive me. I believe Jesus Christ is your Son, and I would like to invite him to come into my heart to live. I want to trust Him as my Savior, and I will follow him as my Lord for the rest of my Life. And I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen."
FOX 25 reported that when Hernandez was found he had the Scripture written in blood on his forehead and an open Bible was in his cell, along with three handwritten notes. The popular Scripture says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
According to WBZ, Hernandez appeared to have red marks on his hands and had tried blocking his cell door from the inside by jamming it with several items to prevent it from being opened. Law enforcement also told WBZ that investigators are looking into the possibility that the former New England Patriot may have smoked synthetic marijuana called K2 Tuesday night.
On Friday, authorities said a medical examiner had ruled that the cause of death was asphyxia by hanging: "There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging," the statement read.
At the time of his death, Hernandez, 27, had been serving a life sentence without parole for the 2013 slaying of a onetime friend.