In the eyes of the law, Aaron Hernandez did not murder Odin Lloyd. Massachusetts judge E. Susan Garsh vacated the former NFL star’s murder conviction in the case of Lloyd Tuesday morning. Hernandez’s record will not reflect a conviction as he did not complete the automatic appeals process for his 2015 first-degree murder conviction.
A judge abated the former New England Patriot tight end’s murder conviction in the case of Odin Lloyd, which was handed down on April 15, 2015.
“The court is compelled to follow binding precedent,” Judge Susan Garsh said. “Abatement is the law in this Commonwealth and this court is required to follow that precedent,” Garsh said.
Massachusetts law includes a long-standing legal principle that has courts traditionally vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are given. Hernandez committed suicide last month in his prison cell as he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Lloyd, a former friend of Hernandez’s and a semi-pro football player.
“The longstanding rule is…abating the entire prosecution as if it never happened,” Garsh said.
Shortly after Hernandez’s death, some began to ask if his infant daughter is entitled to the remaining $15 million guaranteed in Hernandez’s 2012 contract with the Patriots. When Hernandez was initially arrested for murder, he was still owed a portion of his signing bonus and salary – roughly $6 million – from the team. Boston attorney Brian Haney believes his family could make a legal case for that money (the entire $15 million is unlikely), though it would ultimately be up to a judge.
Aaron Hernandez was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After outperforming his contract, Hernandez signed a seven-year deal worth nearly $40 million with New England in 2012.
In 2013, Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.
In April 2017, Hernandez hanged himself in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Because he died before exhausting all of his appeals, his conviction has been vacated.