When we’re first introduced to Aaron Hernandez in Netflix‘s latest true crime docuseries, ‘Killer Inside’, we see him as a talented, hardworking, self-made man, who has a loving partner and daughter, and a beautiful home. And when we first take a peek into his past, we’re told by school friends and neighbours that Aaron had a pretty regular childhood. He then went on to marry his highschool sweetheart. Almost perfect. But why would a man like him throw everything up by murdering people and then end his own life?
As the docuseries progresses we learn about the different aspects of his life, eventually piecing together Hernandez’s dual life. We learn that he had a troubled childhood filled with abuse and dark secrets, that may have played a crucial role in how things turned out for him. ‘Killer Inside’ does this brilliantly well by making use of a non-linear narrative structure. It captures the responses of the people who were a part of his life and those whose lives got affected by him.
It is through this that we’re introduced to Dennis SanSoucie, a school friend of Aaron’s. Dennis attended Bristol Central High School with Aaron and played football with him. He provides details about Aaron’s childhood and their bond. It is only towards the end of the first part of the docuseries that he reveals their, one that may have been one of the dominoes in the major domino effect that led Aaron to commit such horrific acts. But who is Dennis SanSoucie? And Where is he now?
High School Teammates
Aaron and Dennis were friends from the time the two were in middle-school. But their bond grew closer as the two played football for Bristol Central High School. Dennis served as a quarterback, while Aaron was a tightrope for the team. In the first four games of their junior year, the pair had already had nine touchdown completions. The two smoked marijuana together – before school, practices and games. They even walked into the first day of junior high “baked”.
Hernandez, whose father was also a star athlete of the town, went on to shine in the field. During the season, Hernandez caught 67 passes for 1,807 yards, setting state records. This caught the attention of college recruiters from all over. He was first offered scholarship from UConn at the age of 14, but eventually chose to play for the Gators in Florida.
SanSoucie revealed that the two first began exploring a sexual relationship in middle school, which continued in high school. He stated, “Me and Aaron always had a great relationship and bond, but in middle school it had progressed to just more than friends”. He revealed that the two were in denial about what they were doing. But with how close the bond was, he stated that they were pretty much in a relationship together.
SanSoucie also spoke about the homophobia that surrounded them which made them hide their relationship. He stated that their lives would have been ruined if people got to know. This was partially due to their traditional community, but also largely because of Hernandez’s home and his father’s deep homophobia. He also went on to say:
“It didn’t matter what age we were, we wouldn’t even know how to live with ourselves. We had shared some sexual activity together and it continued into high school but we didn’t want anyone to know.”
Abuse and Homophobia in Aaron’s Life
In the docuseries, we learn from SanSoucie and Aaron’s brother DJ, that Aaron’s father, Dennis Hernandez was a violent man who was known to be physically abusive towards his wife and kids. He once gave Aaron a black eye when he got caught drinking before a school dance.
DJ also revealed that their father was worried about Aaron having a feminine side, which was completely unacceptable for him. Dennis closely watched how his son “stood or used his hands”. He also constantly used to slur “faggot”. He became enraged a young Aaron expressed interest in cheerleading because of his older cousins. DJ went on to reveal that Aaron was sexually abused by an older kid who forced Aaron to perform oral sex. Something he never got over. A college girlfriend later admitted that Aaron had spoken to her about being molested as a child, “He never dealt with it. It led to issues in his sexuality”.
Where is Dennis SanSoucie Now?
After high school, Dennis SanSoucie went to join the forces and served as US Marine. Just like football became Aaron’s beard, military was SanSoucie’s way of keeping his sexuality a secret, as both of these are traditionally considered to be aggressively masculine. It is only after he learned about Aaron’s suicide in 2017, he decided to come out for the first time to his own family and friends. He was in his late 20s at the time, and Aaron’s death deeply troubled him. He believed Aaron was “tired, depressed and struggling” after all that life had been for him. But it was also through Aaron that he felt the courage to come out, “I really, truly feel in my heart I got the thumbs-up from him”.