Bristol County DA appeals decision to vacate Aaron Hernandez conviction

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez turns to look in the direction of the jury as he reacts to his double murder acquittal at Suffolk Superior Court Friday, April 14, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — More than a month after a Superior Court judge vacated Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction in the killing of Odin Lloyd, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn announced his office has filed an appeal in the case.

On May 9, Judge Susan Garsh said she was required to follow legal precedent that allows a conviction to be vacated if the defendant dies before direct appeal has been decided.

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Aaron Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd’s murder on June 17, 2013. With an appeal still pending, the former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell April 19 of this year. His death came just five days after he was acquitted of a 2012 Boston double murder.

The prosecution has maintained Hernandez lost his right to abatement when he took his own life, claiming he did so intentionally because he knew the conviction would be thrown out.

“This is an archaic rule not based on the Constitution, and it should be changed. A defendant who commits suicide should not be able to manipulate the outcome of his post-conviction proceedings to achieve in death what he would not be able to achieve in life,” District Attorney Quinn said. “We are asking the Supreme Judicial Court to address this antiquated rule, which does not serve the public interest.”