BOSTON (CBS) – Before his conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez was in the Bristol County jail for months.

At that time, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson says he got to know him well.

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The sheriff says he had a number of conversations with Hernandez during the year and a half he spent in his custody. At one point — he says the former Patriots star even invited him to his wedding.

Like many others, he was very surprised to learn of his death.

“When he was here, he’d talk about being in training camp as opposed to accepting the idea that he was in prison,” Hodgson said.

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The sheriff says Hernandez seemed to adapt quickly to life behind bars, constantly trying to win the favor of prison guards.

“He could draw you in in a matter of minutes if you sat with him,” Hodgson said. “He had this magnetic personality. Very warm smile and he could just engage you very quickly. He was very, very good at it. He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

And so as he watched Friday’s verdict on TV, Hodgson immediately reacted when he saw Hernandez show so much visible emotion.

“For him to have broken down crying. It seems like there was something,” Hodgson said. “I just in my heart of hearts don’t believe it necessarily had to do with thinking about, ‘OK this one’s over. Now, I have to deal with life in prison.’ It seems like he could control that very well and just adapt to environments.”

Those courtroom tears were so surprising to Sheriff Hodgson because he says Hernandez so rarely showed emotion behind bars, calling him a “master manipulator.”

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens Reports