Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction has been vacated. According to ABC News, a judge in Massachusetts granted the request to erase the former New England Patriots star's murder conviction. This comes less than a month since he hanged himself in prison.
The legal precedent in Massachusetts voids a conviction if a person hasn't exhausted the appeals process. “Abatement has been practiced in state and federal courts for more than a century,” Judge Susan Garsh said per ABC News. She said “an appeal is an integral part of the system." The judge dismissed claims by prosecutors that Hernandez knew about abatement and that's why he decided to commit suicide. “This court cannot know why Hernandez chose to end his life,” she said, noting that suicide is a “complex act that may have myriad causes.”
Hernandez was found guilty in 2013 in the killing of Odin Lloyd. He was serving life after being convicted of murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition in 2015.
Last month, the football player was found naked and hanging from a bed sheet in his cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Three notes were found and prosecutors allege that they prove Hernandez killed himself to vacate his conviction. According to the Washington Post, Hernandez told his fiance that she would be "rich" in one note. Some believe he expected her to receive money from the NFL and New England Patriots, which were previously witheld, if he died. Previously, his fiance and her lawyer claimed that she was left with nothing.
Prosecutors have said that they plan to file an appeal of the vacated conviction.
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