A MA judge has thrown out the murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez because the former National Football League star died in prison before his appeal could be heard. Even though Garsh ruled to vacate the conviction, the Commonwealth of MA is expected to appeal.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a double slaying in 2012.
Hernandez's appellate attorneys made their request under a long-standing legal principle in MA holding that when defendants die before their direct appeal is decided, their convictions should be vacated.
The idea of abatement is to ensure the right to appeal for defendants, Suffolk University law professor Rosanna Cavallaro told CNN.
Despite Judge Susan Garsh's ruling, she said the case would likely drag on for a long time.
Hernandez was found dead April 20 in his prison cell after hanging himself, prison officials said. "And I am obeying him".
In a separate interview with TMZ this week, Baez said that ongoing investigations and conversations with people close to Hernandez turned up no indication that he was considering suicide - for monetary reasons or otherwise.More news: Antonio Conte says Chelsea one 'little step' from title after Middlesbrough win
Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, is among those in the courtroom for Tuesday's hearing. "And that's the victory that I have (that) I'm going to take with me".
Arguing against overturning the murder conviction in court Tuesday, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, who prosecuted Hernandez, said the disgraced former New England Patriots player "should not be able to accomplish in death what he could not accomplish in life".
First, one fellow inmate told authorities that Hernandez had mentioned he heard a rumor about the abatement rule, according to the court documents.
Second, Hernandez's suicide note for his fiancée said "YOU'RE RICH", underlined twice.
Lloyd's mother has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez. She said she was compelled to follow it. "This court can not know why Aaron Hernandez chose to end his life. a tragic act that may have complex and myriad causes".
Lawyers for Hernandez had argued that the state's highest court had applied the legal doctrine "without exception", even in cases of suicide.