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Aaron Hernandez's Murder Conviction Reinstated by Massachusetts Supreme Court

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

FILE - In this Friday, April 14, 2017, file photo, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez turns to look in the direction of the jury as he reacts to his double murder acquittal in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Lawyers for the estate of Hernandez are trying to prevent a $20 million lawsuit against the National Football League from being merged with a wider class-action suit addressing former NFL players’ head injuries. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool, File)
Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reinstated Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction in the Odin Lloyd case Wednesday. 

The court called the precedent that led to Hernandez's conviction being overturned "outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life," per Alanna Durkin Richer of the Associated Press. 

A judge had thrown out Hernandez's conviction following his 2017 suicide because his conviction was undergoing an appeal at the time of his death. Longstanding legal principle had stated a person appealing a conviction should no longer be considered guilty, should they die before their appeals process had been exhausted.

"We are pleased justice is served in this case, the antiquated practice of vacating a valid conviction is being eliminated and the victim's family can get the closure they deserve," Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said.

A judge had thrown out Hernandez's conviction following his 2017 suicide because his conviction was undergoing an appeal at the time of his death. Longstanding legal principle had stated a person appealing a conviction should no longer be considered guilty, should they die before their appeals process had been exhausted.

Hernandez was convicted of the first-degree murder of Lloyd, a semipro football player and acquaintance of the former New England Patriots tight end, in 2015. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the maximum sentence in the state of Massachusetts.

In 2017, Hernandez was found not guilty in the double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He killed himself in his jail cell April 17, 2017, just days following his acquittal.

Prosecutors said it was unfair to Lloyd and his family that Hernandez's conviction was overturned. 

"He goes through a full trial, a jury who speaks for the public convicts him and because he dies, in this case commits suicide, the whole thing is wiped out like it never happened? It's not fair or just and should be changed," Quinn said in November. 

Quinn said Hernandez's estate may appeal if they wish to have the murder conviction overturned. 

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