Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Court reinstates late Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction

Court reinstates late Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction

In a precedent-reversing decision, the highest court in MA ruled Wednesday that Aaron Hernandez's first-degree murder conviction must be effectively reinstated, despite Hernandez having killed himself before his appeal could be heard.

Aaron Hernandez was convicted on April 15, 2015 of the 2013 death of semipro football player Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

The Supreme Judicial Court's decision comes almost two years after a state judge vacated Hernandez's murder conviction after the former National Football League star's suicide.

That changed Wednesday, and Hernandez is once again a murderer in the eyes of the law.

Moving forward under the new rule laid out by the court, the conviction will stand but the permanent record will note it was neither affirmed nor reversed at the appeal level due to the defendant's death. They stated that the legal ruling which led to the previous decision is "outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life".

After the 27-year-old former athlete hung himself, his family turned his brain over to scientists who determined that Hernandez had the one of the worst cases of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy that they had ever seen.

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Hernandez's death came shortly after his acquittal of the double murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safir Furtado.

Roman Catholic priest John Geoghan, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boston archdiocese and spread across the globe, also had his child molestation conviction vacated after he was beaten to death in 2003 in his cell at the same MA maximum-security prison where Hernandez died. Others allow appellate courts to consider a dead defendant's case, prosecutors said.

During his arguments before the court, Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said, "The practice of wiping out a jury verdict like it never occurred is not fair or equitable".

That legal principle was unfair to victims and outdated, prosecutors said, via the AP.

"We're here because he was convicted", Quinn told the justices.

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