Aaron Hernandez murder conviction erased

Prosecutors argued erasing conviction would reward Hernandez for committing suicide

Aaron Hernandez
FILE - In this March 15, 2017, file photo, Defendant Aaron Hernandez listens during his double murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court, in Boston. A judge is set to hear arguments in a push by lawyers for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez to erase his conviction in a 2013 murder. The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool, File)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The Latest on defense attorneys efforts to erase Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction following his death (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

A judge who agreed to erase Aaron Hernandez’s conviction in a 2013 murder has said there may be “complex and myriad” reasons why the former NFL star took his own life.

Judge Susan Garsh ruled Tuesday that Hernandez’s conviction must be vacated under long-standing case law that says convictions are dismissed if a defendant dies before a court has ruled on his direct appeal.

Prosecutors had argued that Hernandez forfeited his right to appeal when he took his own life in prison last month.

Garsh rejected that.

She said there could be many contributing factors, including a report from prison officials that some inmates said they knew about a radio broadcast that Hernandez may have been gay.

She also said a “possible mental disturbance” was reflected in a suicide note to his fiancee.

___

12:30 p.m.

The mother of a man whom ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of killing says the ex-NFL star will always be guilty in her family’s eyes.

Ursula Ward, the mother of Odin Lloyd, fought back tears as she addressed reporters Tuesday after a judge agreed to erase Hernandez’s conviction in her son’s 2013 murder.

The judge ruled that a legal doctrine that calls for vacating convictions when a defendant dies before his appeal could be heard was binding precedent.

Hernandez killed himself last month inside his prison cell five days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double murder. He was serving a life sentence in Lloyd’s murder.

Ward said Tuesday: “In our book, he’s guilty, and he’s always going to be guilty.”

___

11:50 a.m.

An appellate attorney for ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez says he believes it is still uncertain as to whether Hernandez took his own life.

John Thompson first raised a question about the official manner of death during a court hearing Tuesday. Prosecutors argued during that hearing that Hernandez’s conviction in a 2013 murder shouldn’t be erased because he killed himself.

After a judge ruled that a long-standing legal principle in Massachusetts requires the vacating of Hernandez’s conviction, Thompson told reporters he still has doubts about whether Hernandez killed himself.

Thompson says he has recent correspondence from Hernandez in which the former New England Patriots tight end said he was interested in pursuing an appeal.

Hernandez’s lead attorney in his recent double murder trial, Jose Baez, has pledged to do an independent investigation into his death.

___

11:30 a.m.

A Massachusetts judge has agreed to erase Aaron Hernandez’s conviction in a 2013 murder because he died before his appeal could be heard.

Judge Susan Garsh ruled Tuesday that 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.

Prosecutors argued that dismissing his murder conviction would reward Hernandez’s decision to take his own life.

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Continuing Coverage: Aaron Hernandez news

10:45 a.m.

A prosecutor has urged a judge to reject a request from lawyers for ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez to erase his conviction in a 2013 murder under a legal doctrine that calls for vacating convictions when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard.

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.

Patrick Bomberg said 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.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Susan Garsh said she expects to issue a decision late Tuesday morning.

___

10:30 a.m.

A lawyer for ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez has asked a judge to erase his conviction in a 2013 murder.

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.

Hernandez’s appellate lawyer told a judge during a court hearing Tuesday that a long-established legal doctrine in Massachusetts requires the court to vacate his conviction because Hernandez died before his appeal of his murder conviction could be heard.

Attorney John Thompson said the conviction is not considered final until it is decided by a higher court.

Prosecutors have said that dismissing his murder conviction would reward Hernandez’s decision to take his own life.

___

9 a.m.

Lawyers for Aaron Hernandez have asked the judge to disregard documents included with the state’s opposition to the dismissal of his murder conviction.

The defense said in a filing before Tuesday’s hearing that the documents which include the state’s death certificate and excerpts from a suicide note the former New England Patriots tight end wrote to his fiancee are irrelevant to the proceedings.

The defense asked that its motion be heard at the same time the judge considers whether to erase Hernandez’s conviction.

Hernandez was found hanged in his cell April 19. He was serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez’s attorneys have made their request under a long-standing legal principle holding that when defendants die before their direct appeal is decided, their convictions are vacated.

___

12:20 a.m.

A judge is set to hear arguments in a push by lawyers for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez to erase his conviction in a 2013 murder.

The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a double slaying in 2012.

Hernandez’s appellate attorneys have made their request under a long-standing legal principle holding that when defendants die before their direct appeal is decided, their convictions are vacated.

Prosecutors have argued that dismissing his murder conviction would reward his decision to take his own life.

The judge who presided at Hernandez’s trial in Lloyd’s killing has scheduled a hearing Tuesday.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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