In death, Hernandez’s murder conviction likely to be tossed

Aaron Hernandez
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is seated during closing arguments in his trial at Suffolk Superior Court, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Boston. Hernandez is on trial for the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado who he encountered in a Boston nightclub. The former NFL player is already serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

BOSTON (AP) — Aaron Hernandez’s death means his murder conviction is likely to disappear.

Under Massachusetts law, defense attorneys can seek to have convictions vacated when a defendant dies before an appeal is heard.

Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Odin Lloyd.

RELATED: Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez dead after hanging self in cell

Authorities say Hernandez was found hanging in his Massachusetts prison cell early Wednesday and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Removing a conviction after the death of a high profile defendant has precedent in the state.

Former Roman Catholic priest John Geoghan’s child molestation conviction was vacated after he was beaten to death in his prison cell in 2003.

John Salvi, who was convicted of killing two abortion clinic workers in Brookline in 1994, also had his convictions dismissed after he killed himself in prison.

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