The state Supreme Judicial Court also expunged the practice, calling it outdated.
Hernandez was found guilty in 2015 of the killing of Odin L. Lloyd but, two years later, the former New England Patriots tight end was found hanging from a bedsheet attached to a window in his cell.
Calling it 'outdated, ' the Supreme Judicial Court in MA has eliminated a state legal principle that wiped out the murder conviction of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez after his suicide. "We are pleased justice is served in this case, the antiquated practice of vacating a valid conviction is being eliminated and the victim's family can get the closure they deserve".
The Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday, however, decided the conviction will stand - but added the court record will note the conviction was neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died during the appeal process. "It's not fair or just and should be changed", Quinn told reporters after the November hearing. Hernandez was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for the murder nine days later.
John Salvi was convicted of murder in 1996 for opening fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, but his conviction was vacated when he committed suicide in prison before his appeal was heard.
Under the doctrine, rooted in centuries of English law, a conviction should not be considered final until an appeal can determine whether mistakes were made that deprived the defendant of a fair trial, legal experts say.
The district attorney whose office prosecuted Hernandez's case applauded the court's decision.
Abatement had generally been recognized in MA even in high-profile cases of suicide.
Hernandez attorney John Thompson said the manner of death should not matter - when a person dies while his conviction is under direct appeal, the conviction should be vacated.
The Patriots took Hernandez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
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