The lurid tale of Aaron Hernandez has come to a tragic end, but the media circus surrounding his rise to fame, and his self-orchestrated downfall, has yet to subside. Aaron Hernandez died as a convicted murderer, but in the eyes of the law, his conviction has been erased.
On Tuesday, a Massachusetts judge vacated his murder conviction posthumously. Minutes later, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn reportedly told prosecutors he would appeal the decision. Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013. He was found hanging in his cell on April 19, just days after being acquitted of double-murder charges in a separate case.
Speculation abounds that Aaron Hernandez knowingly attempted to take advantage of a long-standing Massachusetts legal precedent that states a person’s conviction can be voided if he or she dies before exhausting all appeals, and this is what motivated him to commit suicide.
If Hernandez essentially had no murder conviction, the logic went, then the Patriots and NFL would no longer have any grounds to continue withholding large sums of money from him or his estate, as they had done since he was first arrested.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said he plans to appeal the ruling and is willing to take the case all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
“Despite the tragic ending to Aaron Hernandez’s life, he should not reap the legal benefits of an antiquated rule,” Quinn said. “State and federal courts from across the country have rejected this antiquated rule. Massachusetts, in my opinion, needs to follow suit.”