The murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez was reinstated on Wednesday, nearly two years after the former NFL star killed himself in prison.
The highest court in Massachusetts also sacked the legal principle that wiped out Hernandez’s conviction, calling it “outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life.”
A judge had tossed Hernandez’s conviction, holding that a defendant convicted at trial who dies before an appeal is heard should no longer be considered guilty in the eyes of the law. The conviction was restored unanimously by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court following an appeal.
“We are pleased justice is served in this case, the antiquated practice of vacating a valid conviction is being eliminated and the victim’s family can get the closure they deserve,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III tweeted.
The conviction will stand, but the court record will show that the defendant died before the appeal could be heard.
Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of killing semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. He killed himself in his cell two years later after being acquitted of most charges in a separate double-murder case.