Judge Vacates Aaron Hernandez’s Murder Conviction
Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now an innocent man in the state of Massachusetts.
Judge Susan Garsh, who sentenced Hernandez to life in prison three years ago for the 2013 Odin Lloyd murder, abated the verdict Tuesday. Under Massachusetts law, a defendant’s convictions are void if he didn’t exhaust all of his legal appeals upon his passing. Hernandez was in the process of appealing his first-degree murder conviction.
“Abatement is the law in this commonwealth and the court is required to follow that precedent,” Garsh said, via the Boston Herald’s Bob McGovern.
Prosecutors argued against the abatement, saying it would reward Hernandez for his suicide. Hernandez hanged himself in his cell April 20 at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. He was acquitted of double-murder charges five days prior.
Garsh’s decision to vacate Hernandez’s verdict could carry broad implications for his estate, which is currently worthless. Lloyd’s mother filed a wrongful-death suit against Hernandez, and the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the victims in the aforementioned double murder, are planning to do the same. The Patriots may now be obligated to pay Hernandez the $3.5 million signing bonus they voided after the Lloyd arrest. New England could also owe Hernandez an additional $2.5 million in guaranteed salary.