Given that Aaron Hernandez died last week, his legal representatives have requested that the court dismisses his first-degree murder conviction for which he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Due to a longstanding legal principle, the court will most likely accept the request.
A Massachusetts law states that the court will "customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard," according to ESPN. The legal principle is called "abatement ab initio," which means "from the beginning."
As for the late New England Patriots star, the courts will look at his 2013 trial and conviction for the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd as if it never happened.
One of Hernandez's appellate attorneys, Linda Thompson, addressed the fact that Hernandez hadn't exhausted all possible legal courses of action, and therefore he died an innocent man according to the legal doctrine.
"Since the conviction is not final because the appeal has not been decided, there's nothing that can be done with the appeal," Thompson said. "There is not going to be a conviction because it can't be pursued in the court system."
Martin W. Healy, the chief legal counsel of the Massachusetts Bar Association, explained what this means for Odin Lloyd and his family.
"Unfortunately, in the Odin Lloyd matter, for the family, there won't be any real closure," said Healy, according to the Boston Globe. "Aaron Hernandez will go to his death an innocent man."
Doug Sheff, the lawyer representing Odin Lloyd's mother, feels that the civil case will not be undermined even in the event that the court vacates the first-degree murder charge.
"We believe that a well-reasoned court will protect the rights of innocent, grieving family members like Ursula Ward and allow us to proceed with our wrongful-death case directly," Sheff said.
Last week, Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his cell at a Shirley, Massachusetts prison. He hung himself on the cell window by using his bed sheet. Since his passing, a slew of issues have emerged regarding the 27-year-old athlete's death investigation.
One of the primary matters that the Hernandez family has learned more is that Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a gay lover in prison.
Before killing himself, Aaron left behind three suicide notes. One was written to his fiancé, another to his daughter, and the final one was addressed to a fellow prison inmate named Kyle Kennedy. Learn more about Kyle Kennedy here.
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