Why Hernandez might be remembered as an innocent man

Under Massachusetts law, Hernandez can be cleared of the murder he committed

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, file photo, former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez is led into his court appearance at the Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. Massachusetts prison officials said Hernandez hanged himself in his cell and was pronounced dead at a hospital early Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (Matt Stone/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool, File)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead of an apparent suicide in his prison cell Wednesday. He was 27.

“I didn’t expect that I know he had appeals going on in the law but I didn’t think he’d take his own life,” said Philip Lamothe of Northampton.

Hernandez was serving life without parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013. The attorney handling Hernandez’s appeal said the murder conviction will likely be voided for Lloyd’s death. Last week, a jury found Hernandez not guilty of murdering two men in Boston in 2012.

The attorney who represents one of those two victims said civil cases against Hernandez will continue, in hopes of finding him civilly responsible for the Boston murders.

Continuing Coverage: Aaron Hernandez News

“Why should they continue with something, since the poor guy is gone,” said Corado Bracci of Easthampton. “He was a delinquent, but needless to say he’s at a better place possibly.”

Hernandez was involved in two murder trials before he took his own life in prison early Wednesday morning. Attorneys in those cases want to continue with proceedings. 22News asked a lawyer in Northampton why they still want to appeal.

“In Massachusetts, there’s an automatic right of appeal for first degree murder conviction and his appeal had not been heard yet, so his attorneys could move to have his conviction vacated and actually make it have so the charges were never brought,” said Northampton Attorney, James Winston.

Winston told 22News a murder conviction can be vacated no matter how the convict dies.