Massachusetts’ highest court on Wednesday reinstated the late Aaron Hernandez‘s first-degree murder conviction.
The Supreme Judicial Court said erasing Hernandez’s conviction after the NFL star killed himself in prison was “outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life,” according to the Boston Globe.
In 2015, Hernandez was convicted of murdering Odin L. Lloyd. He was serving a life sentence without parole when officials said he committed suicide at age 27, two years after he was convicted. The state’s legal precedent vacates convictions if a defendant dies before all appeal possibilities are exhausted, which returned Hernandez’s case to its pretrial status.
“The SJC has ruled that Aaron Hernandez’s conviction for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, will stand. 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,” Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in response to SJC’s ruling, per NBC Boston.
The conviction will stand, however, the court record will note the conviction was “neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died while the appeal was pending” under the court’s new rule.
Hernandez’s attorney previously argued the legal doctrine should remain the same, citing juries make mistakes, NBC Boston notes.