A Massachusetts judge has agreed to erase Aaron Hernandez's conviction in a 2013 murder because he died before his appeal could be heard
10 May, 2017, 03:05
During a Tuesday hearing to dismiss Hernandez's conviction for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd - per a MA legal rule known as "abatement ab initio" - Hernandez's appellate attorney John Thompson broached the topic again.
Under that legal principle, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has voided first degree murder convictions when the defendant dies before their appeals are heard by the state's highest court. But Garsh said no one could know why Hernandez took his life, and she was bound to follow state law.
Prosecutors had argued Hernandez's prison suicide should have prevented the judge from overturning the conviction following his death, which is routinely allowed by MA state law when the conviction in question has not been fully appealed.
A MA judge has agreed to erase Aaron Hernandez's conviction in a 2013 murder because he died before his appeal could be heard.
The law states that it is discriminatory to a defendant or survivors to allow a conviction to stand before they have a chance to appeal it. Hernandez hanged himself in a MA prison last month. The suicide stunned his family because it came just days after Hernandez been found not guilty of a 2012 double murder.
The state plans to appeal the ruling, arguing that since Hernandez "deliberately, consciously and voluntarily chose to end his life", his death should not erase his guilt.
However, Hernandez's appellate attorneys filed paperwork on Tuesday asking the judge to ignore how he died.
Hernandez was then found hanging in his prison cell on April 19.
The possibility of abatement gained attention due to the simple nature of Hernandez's celebrity, and the seemingly antiquated law on the books in MA.
His death has been ruled a suicide by the Worcester district attorney's office, although his family is conducting its own investigation and have said they don't believe he killed himself. Hernandez was 23 at the time and was cut from the team hours after his arrest in the killing. He also said be still, and know that I am God.
Lawyers for Hernandez argued that his conviction in the Odin Lloyd murder case could not be considered final because the automatic appeal Hernandez was entitled to had not been heard at the time of his death.
Hernandez hung himself in his MA prison cell on April 19.
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"Despite the tragic ending to Aaron Hernandez's life, he should not reap the legal benefits of an antiquated rule", Quinn said.
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The 27-year-old Hernandez was also accused of a separate double murder in 2012 and acquitted five days before he killed himself. A Massachusetts Department of Correction report also stated that Hernandez did not exhibit any signs he was suicidal.
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