Massachusetts judge overturns Hernandez’s murder conviction

A former NFL player’s murder sentence has been overturned - because he killed himself in jail before his appeal could be heard. Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, 27, was found hanged in his cell last month. He had been serving a life sentence without parole for murdering semi-professional footballer Odin Lloyd. Under Massachusetts state law, convicts who die before the completion of their appeal are often subsequently cleared of their original offence.

This court cannot know why Hernandez chose to end his life.

Superior Court judge Susan Garsh

Superior Court judge Susan Garsh said that as there was “no reason to recognise any exception” in Hernandez’s case, she would overturn his murder conviction. Citing a suicide note in which Hernandez told his fiance “you’re rich”, district attorney Thomas Quinn said the NFL star may have killed himself to protect his family assets. He said: “It is fair to conclude based on what was presented that it was a knowing decision that he had thought about and acted upon.” Prosecutors, who could appeal the decision, had argued that Hernandez killed himself to “stall” a wrongful death lawsuit brought against him by Mr Lloyd’s mother.