Aaron Hernandez wrongful death suit to go forward, but is there money to award murder victim’s family?

The family of Odin Lloyd has vowed to move forward with the wrongful death suit against Aaron Hernandez despite the fact that his criminal murder conviction was vacated on a legal technicality on Tuesday.

According to the Boston Globe, the family’s attorney Douglas K. Sheff said on Tuesday that the civil wrongful death suit will not be deterred, and that a judge on the case had also made a preliminary finding that Hernandez is responsible for Lloyd’s 2013 death, before the former NFL star died himself.

The burden of proof in a wrongful death civil case, which targets the defendant’s estate, is much lower than that of a criminal proceeding. It is possible to win a civil case even if the defendant was found not guilty in criminal court, as O.J. Simpson was for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The victim’s family later won a $33.5 million judgement in civil court.

“I believe we’re on very solid ground on the civil case, regardless of what happens in the criminal matter,” Sheff told the Boston Globe.

But even if Odin Lloyd’s family wins a civil judgement, it’s unclear what will be awarded to them.

As Crime Online previously reported, Hernandez’s estate was found to be essentially worthless at the time of his death. He did own a $1.3 million dollar home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, that has been on the market, but the civil suit against Hernandez includes money from the sale as part of the late NFL star’s estate.

As to the question of whether the New England Patriots, which released the player after his arrest for Lloyd’s murder, will owe money to Hernandez’s estate, the Boston Globe reports that this is improbable. Hernandez was likely in violation of his contract whether or not he was found guilty of Lloyd’s murder, and he made a settlement against the team in 2014 that appears to have been decided in favor of the Patriots. Sources who spoke to the Boston Globe believed that the settlement conclusion would have prevented any further claims.



Photo: Associated Press