Massachusetts judge overturns ex-NFL star Hernandez's murder conviction

A MA judge has ruled to vacate Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction after Hernandez's suicide.

Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of his friend, semipro football player Odin Lloyd. The suicide stunned his family because it came just days after Hernandez been found not guilty of a 2012 double murder. In the past, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has thrown out first-degree murder convictions in cases in which the defendant dies before their appeal can be heard.

Garsh, however, dismissed lawyers' assertions that the motive for why Hernandez took his own life is clear.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said Tuesday that the legal doctrine that prompted Garsh to vacate Hernandez's conviction is "archaic".

"The mere rumor of such a rumor is hardly sufficient to warrant the inference the commonwealth seeks to draw in respect to defendant's specific event", the judge said, adding, "A court should not have to conduct an exhaustive investigation in every case as to the circumstances of a defendant's death to determine if it was suicide, if defendant had capacity to make voluntary choice to live and factors that motivated him".

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Hernandez's attorneys in the matter praised the judge's decision and declined to answer reporters' questions on whether it would have any influence on civil suits filed against his estate by the families of the men he was accused of murdering. Thompson also said because Hernandez died in prison, it will be hard to definitively determine how he died.

"He should not be able to accomplish in death what he could not have accomplished in life".

Lawyers for Hernandez had argued that the state's highest court had applied the legal doctrine "without exception", even in cases of suicide.

Thompson says he has recent correspondence from Hernandez in which the former New England Patriots tight end said he was interested in pursuing an appeal.

Now the families of Lloyd, Daniel de Abreau and Safiro Furtado have all filed wrongful death lawsuits against Hernandez.

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State police said in an investigative report that Hernandez was found naked on April 19 and hanging from a bed sheet tied around the window bars of his cell.

Hernandez's attorneys have made their request under a long-standing legal principle holding that when defendants die before their direct appeal is decided, their convictions are vacated.

In April 2017, Hernandez hanged himself in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center.

The tight end was dropped by the New England Patriots hours after he was arrested.

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