Aaron Hernandez is a convicted murderer once again.
In a shocking move on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively reinstated Aaron Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction. Hernandez was convicted of killing Odin Lloyd in 2015, but the conviction was vacated in 2018 following the suicide of the former New England Patriots tight end.
An obscure Massachusetts court tossed out his murder conviction due to a legal doctrine called “abatement ab initio” that calls for convictions to be voided if an appeal is in process at the time of the defendant’s death.
However, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday that the doctrine is “outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was.”
“The proper course is to dismiss the appeal as moot and note in the trial court record that the conviction removed the defendant’s presumption of innocence, but that the conviction was appealed and neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died,” associate justice Elspeth Cypher wrote in the opinion.
“We conclude that this approach, which otherwise applies only prospectively, should apply in the present case.”
The former tight end died in prison in April 2017, soon after he was found not guilty during another murder he was suspected of committing.