Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez died a convicted murderer with pending appeal rights. Officially, he’s no longer a convicted murderer.
Via Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, Judge Susan Garsh has agreed to erase Hernandez’s conviction for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd because Hernandez died while the appeal was still pending. The ruling arises from a Massachusetts law that resets the case to its inception if the defendant dies before the case concludes. Prosecutors had argued that erasing the conviction would reward Hernandez for taking his own life.
The outcome could make it impossible for the Patriots to deny further payment of the signing bonus that Hernandez earned in 2012, and likewise to reclaim all money he earned under the contract extension. Given the acquittal for the double murder that came five days before his death and the expungement of the murder conviction, Hernandez in the eyes of the law is not guilty of murder.