BOSTON — A week after one-time National Football League star Aaron Hernandez killed himself in his prison cell, lawyers asked a Massachusetts judge to vacate his 2015 conviction for murdering an acquaintance.
In addition to clearing Hernandez’s name, the legal move, at the behest of his family including his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, could help protect his estate from liability in civil lawsuits filed by the survivors of his alleged victims.
The filing, made on Tuesday at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, is based on a quirk of Massachusetts law that allows a court to reverse a verdict if the person convicted dies before he has exhausted his appeals process.
Hernandez’s body was found hanged by a bed sheet early on Wednesday in a cell where he was serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of acquaintance Odin Lloyd. That is the verdict that his attorneys are now trying to have vacated.
His suicide came days after another Massachusetts jury acquitted the former New England Patriots tight end of a 2012 double murder in Boston.
The Bristol County district attorney, who handled the Lloyd murder trial, plans to contest the request to vacate the verdict, a spokesman said.
“We have been reviewing the matter and intend to file an opposition to the defense motion within the next week,” spokesman Gregg Miliote said in an email.