Lawyer calls on Patriots to pay out any money owed to Hernandez

BOSTON (WPRI) — A lawyer for the mother of the man murdered by Aaron Hernandez called on the New England Patriots to voluntarily release whatever money the former player may be owed.

At a news conference Friday, attorney Doug Sheff suggested the team might owe Hernandez’s estate up to $6 million if his murder conviction is thrown out.

Hernandez, 27, committed suicide in his cell earlier this week while serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Under a long-standing legal principle in Massachusetts, courts typically vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard.

Sheff said the vacating of his conviction would have no impact on their civil case against Hernandez. A judge has already ruled that he was responsible for Lloyd’s death, according to Sheff, and all that’s left in the case is to determine the damages.

Calling it a “friendly challenge,” Sheff urged the Patriots pay out any money owned to Hernandez so that it can benefit Lloyd’s family.

Hernandez was cut from the Patriots following his arrest in 2013. A spokesperson for the Patriots on Friday said the team has no response to Sheff’s request.

Beside Sheff on Friday was Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, who was wearing a pin bearing her son’s likeness and the phrase “Legends Never Die.”

“I lost my best friend. I lost my son. I lost the love of my life. I lost a strong boy in my family,” Ward said.

Even though she’s suing for damages, Ward knows the pain of her loss will never go away.

“There’s no amount of money in the world that can bring Odin back,” she said.

Despite all that’s happened, Ward said she still forgives Hernandez for taking her son’s life.

“I pray to God his soul is at peace,” she said. “I pray to God that he finds comfort and God will forgive him.”

Sheff said Ward’s family is having a tough time with bills and whatever damages are awarded will help with that. But, Ward also said she intends to put a portion of what she receives towards a scholarship in her son’s name.

Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and their 4-year-old daughter would also have legal claims to his estate. What remains of the estate other than his Hummer and now-vacant home in North Attleboro is unknown.