Fall River, MA - There will be no justice for the family of Odin Lloyd, since former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's 2013 murder conviction was vacated by a Massachusetts judge on Tuesday, May 9.
According to CNN, an obscure Massachusetts law known as "abatement ab initio" made this possible.
Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell on April 19, days after an acquittal for double-murder charges in an unrelated case. He died as a convicted murderer.
Under the law, which is legal precedent, Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh, who oversaw Hernandez's murder trial, said she had no choice. This rule allows for the verdict to be set aside because he had appealed the verdict, and it was not reviewed by the Supreme Judicial Court before his death last month, according to The Boston Globe.
The idea behind the legal precedent is to 'ensure the right to appeal for defendants.'
Prosecutors had presented evidence that another inmate had told Hernandez about the rule which allowed for his conviction to be dismissed if he died.
Judge Garsh also said that prosecutors did not convince her that Hernandez's suicide was a voluntary act aimed at having the conviction vacated. She said that his suicide appeared to have occurred from "complex and myriad issues, including possible mental disturbance."
The Judge said that the Supreme Judicial Court had "remained steadfast" in its support of the legal principle, and that she would not issue a ruling that would contract the state's highest court. Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said that he "respected the practices of the past" but that "it's time for a change".
Quinn said "he died a guilty man and a convicted murderer. You can’t just snap your fingers and have that go away."
Lloyd's mother Ursula Ward said "In our book, he’s guilty, and he’s going to always be guilty."
Prior to Judge Garsh's ruling, Bristol Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg said "The defendant should not be able to accomplish in death what he couldn’t accomplish in life.”