Following his death last month, Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction for killing Odin Lloyd has officially been dismissed.
Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell on April 19 and under Massachusetts law, if a defendant dies before their appeals are exhausted their convictions are vacated. Therefore this doctrine, called abatement ab initio, now erases Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction from 2015 in which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Bristol County Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh made the ruling on Tuesday.
Prosecutors tried to argue that circumstances were different in Hernandez’s case because he knew about the rule and used it as a way for his family to get millions of dollars from the New England Patriots. According to TMZ, if his conviction was dismissed the Patriots would owe around $6 million which was the remainder of his NFL contract. Prosecutors said that Hernandez knew this and committed suicide so his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, could collect that money.
But Garsh said that she was compelled to follow precedent and threw out the conviction.
Lloyd’s family was in the courtroom and were visibly distraught after the ruling.
The medical examiner, who performed the autopsy on Hernandez, concluded that the former tight end’s manner of death was suicide and the cause was asphyxia by hanging. However, as we reported, Hernandez’s lead attorney, Jose Baez, strongly believes that his client was murdered and has vowed that his firm will independently investigate the death.
Hernandez played his college ball under coach Urban Meyer with the Tim Tebow-led Gators at the University of Florida. He was drafted by the Pats in 2010 and caught passes from Tom Brady for two seasons until his arrest for Lloyd’s murder in 2013.