Judge agrees to toss murder conviction of former Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez

ALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former Florida Gator and NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s conviction in a 2013 murder can be erased because he died before his appeal was heard, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge E. Susan Garsh said a legal doctrine that calls for vacating convictions when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard was binding precedent. She said she was compelled to follow it.

The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell last month while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg had argued that Hernandez “should not be able to accomplish in death what he could not accomplish in life.”

Hernandez’s appellate attorney told the judge that the state’s highest court has applied the legal doctrine “without exception,” even in cases of suicide.

In a court filing last week, Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III argued that a defendant’s death while an appeal is pending does not always require what is known as “abatement,” including when “a defendant’s death is a result of his own conscious, deliberate and voluntary act.”

Hernandez’s appellate lawyers say his conviction in the Lloyd case is not considered final because the automatic appeal he was entitled to had not been heard at the time of his death.

Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, and played football at the University of Florida, was considered an up-and-coming star during his three seasons with the Patriots. He was cut from the team hours after his arrest in the killing of Lloyd.

STORIES THAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON –

>> MORE TOP STORIES

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s