Aaron Hernandez's Murder Conviction May Be Lifted

Because it was under appeal at the time of former NFL star's death
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2017 12:59 PM CDT
Aaron Hernandez Attorney Isn't Convinced of Suicide
In this Jan. 22, 2012, photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, congratulates Aaron Hernandez after their AFC Championship win.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

An attorney for Aaron Hernandez says he isn't convinced his high-profile client committed suicide. Prison officials say the former NFL star hanged himself with a bed sheet, but attorney Jose Baez says he will conduct his own investigation alongside the prison's because Hernandez didn't seem remotely suicidal, reports TMZ. Meanwhile, media outlets are struggling to make sense not only of Hernandez's death but of the dramatic downfall from stardom that led to his life sentence on a murder conviction. Related coverage:

  • Hernandez probably won't be known as a convicted murderer much longer, reports USA Today. The 27-year-old had appealed his conviction, and his death means that the verdict will likely be vacated by the Massachusetts Appeals Court because he wouldn't be able to assist in his own defense.
  • CNN and the Washington Post have similar stories with a broad look at his life. He'd been an athletic prodigy in his hometown of Bristol, Conn., and both stories note that Hernandez was especially close to his dad, who died after hernia surgery when Hernandez was 16. He'd begun hanging out with a tougher crowd by then, and trouble began escalating after his father's death and continued at the University of Florida and beyond.
  • This New York Times focuses on the 2013 murder that resulted in his life sentence. He and victim Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro player, were dating sisters at the time, and Lloyd was apparently suspicious the night Hernandez picked him up. He texted his sister that he was with "NFL," adding, "just so you know." Hernandez was accompanied by two friends from Bristol at the time, the story suggesting he never could quite shake those roots.

  • As for the 2012 case in which he was accused, and acquitted, of killing two men, it all stemmed from a spilled drink in a nightclub. But the two cases may be connected: One line of speculation was that Hernandez killed Odin because he learned of the 2012 killings and was talking too much, per this post at SportsGrid.
  • The Boston Herald has a timeline of his criminal cases here.
  • An April 16 column in the Boston Globe about his recent trial described Hernandez as "serene" in court. Photos "captured a man who didn’t seem to have a care in the world—a murder defendant blowing kisses to his family, waving to his friends, a study in confidence."
  • Massachusetts has a spotty record when it comes to prison suicides, reports the Globe.
(Read more Aaron Hernandez stories.)

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