Aaron Hernandez’s legal troubles have captivated the American public for years, from the beginning of his stardom to his end in a prison cell. The recent discovery of his suicide left many of his victims without the closure they needed. What it also might have done was to exonerate him from the guilt of his actions. Due to his untimely death, he stands the chance of having his conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd vacated. Under Massachusetts law, if someone dies before they are allowed to have a repeal case of their conviction, then the conviction can seek to be vacated.
Hernandez’s suicide not only has implications for his convictions, but it also has repercussions for his estate and who is entitled to it. Hernandez grew up in Bristol, Connecticut and began his career playing football for the University of Florida. He was considered one of the best tight end players on the field during the three years he played for the New England Patriots. He wasn’t cut from the playing field after his arrest for the death of Odin Lloyd. At the time of the murder Lloyd was dating Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister.
Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 after being convicted of first-degree murder in Lloyd’s death. His legal troubles didn’t stop there. There was also mounting evidence that Hernandez was also involved in a drive-by shooting on April 14th, but he was acquitted of those charges. Just five days after being found not guilty, he was found hanging in his cell after apparently committing suicide.
Hernandez’s suicide could have potentially come at just the right time for his legal worries. In the state of Massachusetts, if a defendant doesn’t have their case heard before an appellate court before they die, then lawyers can attempt to have the convictions against them overturned, which is exactly what his attorneys have filed a motion to do. Since Hernandez’s case was not heard before the Supreme Judicial Court before his death, he might just get away with murder.
Prosecutors insist that they will fight the vacating of the convictions, but it is not likely they will win. Whether the conviction stands or not really means nothing to Hernandez himself. Already having fallen from grace, he left a legacy that paints the picture of a very brutal and violent human being. But the convictions being vacated could have a potential impact on many victims’ families’ civil cases.
Although acquitted of the drive-by shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the victims’ families had filed a wrongful death case against Hernandez. The Lloyd family has also initiated a case against Hernandez’s estate to collect for Lloyd’s death. It’s not just his house and Hummer that are up for grabs; in 2012, Hernandez had signed a contract for $40 million to be paid out over five years, of which he had received approximately $10 million. After he was arrested, the Patriots withheld the remaining money — close to $6 million — and they also took his base amount of over $2.4 million and a sign on bonus of about $3.2 million. Although there are no official reports about how much Hernandez’s legal defense cost, there is likely some money to recover for the victim’s families.
According to lawyers Queens NY, his house is also estimated to be worth somewhere around $1.3 million, and his other assets may also be up for grabs if the families can recover. But there is speculation about how his suicide may affect their ability to collect from his estate, and if his conviction is vacated, what does that mean for his victim’s family? Because Lloyd’s case has already been proven, there is little doubt that the family will not be able to recoup.
But when it comes to the Furtado and De Abreu families, much less proof is needed in a wrongful death suit, but without Hernandez around to defend himself, the whole situation could become very complex. From stardom to bottoming out, Hernandez’s fall from grace was of his own doing.It’s likely the people who will suffer most are those who lost loved family members. Even if they can win their wrongful death suits, they still won’t win back their loved ones.