Attorneys for Aaron Hernandez have formally requested that a Massachusetts court vacate his 2015 murder conviction, ESPN reports.
According to an archaic state law, a murder conviction can be dismissed if the case is still incomplete at the time of the suspect’s death. Hernandez’s 2015 murder conviction was pending appeal when he was found dead in his jail cell on Wednesday morning. The appeal was set to go forward at the conclusion of Hernandez’s second murder trial. On April 14, the former NFL star was found not guilty of double murder.
“Since the conviction is not final because the appeal has not been decided, there’s nothing that can be done with the appeal,” said Linda Thompson, one of Hernandez’s appellate attorneys. “There is not going to be a conviction because it can’t be pursued in the court system.”
The Bristol County District Attorney’s office is expected to oppose the motion to vacate the dismissal, according to the ESPN report. If the court approves the request, it will mean that Hernandez, who had a reputation for being a hardened killer, will have died an innocent man.
Hernandez’s defense lawyer, Jose Baez, has questioned the medical examiner’s suicide ruling, and indicated to TMZ on Monday that he has not ruled out foul play in his client’s death.
Hernandez was laid to rest on Monday in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
Photo: Associated Press