And now that Hernandez technically no longer is guilty of murder, the question becomes whether the Patriots now owe the former tight end's family the money they withheld from him.
A judge agreed to get rid of Aaron Hernandez'sconviction in a 2013 murder case because he died before his appeal was heard in a court of law. When asked about a possible motion to reconsider the award in light of the conviction being voided, Sheff said he did not fear one.
Prosecutors had argued that Hernandez forfeited his right to appeal when he made a "calculated" decision to take his own life.
The Patriots paid Hernandez two installments of his $12.5 million signing bonus, with a final $3.25 million to be paid out in March 2014.
Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg argued that Aaron Hernandez's conscious decision to end his life for the reason of having his conviction vacated is enough reason not to do it.
John and Linda Thompson, the attorneys who had been preparing to represent Hernandez in his appeal, filed for "abatementab initio", the legal term for the process, after Hernandez's death.
Ursula Ward, the mother of the man Hernandez had been convicted of killing, remained composed in the courtroom, but Lloyd's former girlfriend, Shaneah Jenkins, darted out of the courtroom crying once the hearing concluded. That could have ramifications as far as it concerns the Hernandez estate, but that is more likely to be decided in a civil court now, where the family of Lloyd can seek damages from the estate in lieu of simply seeing Hernandez do time behind bars.
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez may have died in prison, but according to the state of MA, he's now technically considered innocent. He was cut from the team hours after his arrest in Lloyd's killing. The guilty verdict was issued on April 15, 2015.
Garsh did not oversee Hernandez's 2013 trial. Without that proof, she said she felt that she had to follow the existing MA law and officially overturn his conviction.
Hernandez used a bed sheet attached to a cell window to hang himself.
In April, Hernandez was acquitted of a separate 2012 double homicide.