After former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell on April 19, his lawyers asked the state's highest court to vacate his murder conviction for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
A judge is set to hear arguments concerning that request on Tuesday, according to the Bristol County District Attorney's office.
Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of Lloyd. Only days before, Hernandez was found not guilty of a 2012 double murder.
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When a defendant dies before an appeal for their murder conviction is heard, that conviction is vacated, according to Massachusetts's Abatement Doctrine.
The judge who presided over Hernandez's trial for Lloyd's killing will hold a hearing Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Bristol Country District Attorney Thomas Quinn III wrote in a court filing from last week that "abatement" is not always required if a defendant dies while an appeal is pending.
Quinn noted that this includes when “a defendant’s death is a result of his own conscious, deliberate and voluntary act,” as with suicide, the AP reported.
Hernandez would not be the first public convicted murderer to have his conviction thrown out because of the Abatement Doctrine, even when the reason for death is suicide.
John Salvi was convicted of killing two abortion clinic workers and injuring five others in Brookline in 1994. His convictions were vacated after he committed suicide in prison two years later.
The convictions of Father John Geoghan, a Catholic priest convicted on child molestation charges, were vacated after Geoghan was beaten to death in his cell in 2003. Geoghan was also at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison, at that time.