Aaron Hernandez's apparent suicide won't stop Odin Lloyd's mother from marching forward with her wrongful death civil lawsuit against the former NFL star, who was found guilty of murdering her son.
However, Hernandez's shocking death will complicate things.
As reported by TMZ Sports, an obscure Massachusetts law declares that when a person dies while appealing a criminal conviction that his or her death essentially wipes out all proceedings, unbelievably meaning that Hernandez died an innocent man, despite his 2015 first-degree murder conviction for the 2013 homicide of Lloyd.
The thought behind the old law is since the individual isn't present for the appeal process, there can't be a final resolution. That means that Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, will have to independently retry the murder charge against Hernandez in front of a new jury, almost as if the original trial never happened.
"The idea is that if an appeal hasn't happened, there's a chance that a conviction has an error in it," Rosanna Cavallaro, a Suffolk University law professor, explained to CNN. "Rather than have someone with that incomplete decision that they're guilty, the state chooses instead to say that conviction is abated — as if it never had happened."
Had Hernandez been alive, the wrongful death civil lawsuit against him probably would have been an easy case for prosecutors to win. Now, it's cluttered with legal complications.
Still, Ward's lawyer, Douglas Sheff, assured TMZ that they will continue the lawsuit, despite Hernandez's death. And Sheff remains confident that he'll get a win for the grieving family, who lost Lloyd, 27, four years ago.
As for what Lloyd's family feels about Hernandez's apparent suicide, in which he reportedly hung himself during the wee hours of Wednesday morning at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts? TMZ said Ward is "accepting" of the news.
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(Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)