Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Mass. legal principle could overturn murder conviction after Hernandez death

Vacated: Hernandez's conviction for killing Odin Lloyd (pictured) may be vacated in the wake of his death.

In addition, it could also mean his family gets money from the National Football League and his former team, the New England Patriots.

Addressing the victims' families, Ruskin said this apparent suicide isn't likely to bring them any long-term peace. "Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence". After Hernandez was convicted of murder, the Patriots cut off all payments that were still owed to Hernandez under the final contract he signed with the team in 2012. Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Hernandez was found with the Bible verse John 3:16 written across his forehead in red marker.

The attorney called on authorities to "conduct a transparent and thorough investigation" and promised his own examination of the death.

Authorities offered few answers after Hernandez was found hanging from a bedsheet Wednesday in his cell in a maximum-security prison in MA, where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 slaying of a onetime friend.

Why was Hernandez in prison?

Details of the suicide still are coming to light, but both the Massachusetts State Police and the Worcester Country District Attorney's Office are launching an investigation into Hernandez's death. That year he got engaged to his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, who was pregnant with their first child, a baby girl they named Avielle.

Hernandez's older brother Jonathan "DJ" Hernandez, meanwhile, took to Facebook Thursday to wish his mother, Terri Hernandez, happy birthday.

Lloyd was shot six times and died in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home.

Hernandez had been acquitted of murder chargers in the death of two men in 2012 just five days earlier.

However, it may not be plain sailing: Hernandez was due for an appeal at the time he died, and under a long-standing MA legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard. "Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imagined", he said.

Friends also were grieving in CT, where Hernandez was raised. Friday, Hernandez was acquitted in the double-murder case. "That was a positive thing in our minds", said Alex Cugno, who grew up with Hernandez in Bristol. "His agent actually texted me and said he would never kill himself".

Collins contributed from Hartford, Connecticut.

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