A legal technicality redeemed Hernandez, at least for the record, in death.
This is where things could conceivably get complicated for the National Football League, the Patriots, and Hernandez's family. Abatement ab initio means "from the beginning", Healy said, and it means that upon a person's death if they have not exhausted their legal appeals, their case reverts to its status at the beginning - it's as if the trial and conviction never happened.
"It is quite possible that for Aaron Hernandez to be on the news on the same day that the Patriots are in the news, that's symbolic", said Ruskin.
Guards found Hernandez shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Shirley, Correction Department spokesman Christopher Fallon said.
The attorney called on authorities to "conduct a transparent and thorough investigation" and promised his own examination of the death. He was a productive tight end for the Patriots for three seasons, catching 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year to help the team reach the Super Bowl. He was found not guilty last week in the 2012 double murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The Worcester County district attorney's office and the Correction Department are investigating. He issued a statement Wednesday saying that Hernandez's family and legal team are "shocked and surprised" at the news of his death.
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Left behind: Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez and their daughter (both pictured last Wednesday), 4, may inherit some of his money.
Investigators suggested Hernandez shot Lloyd to keep him quiet about the two earlier killings.
The suicide announcement came five days after a Boston jury acquitted Hernandez on Good Friday in the drive-by shooting murders of two men he had encountered in a night club in 2012. A lawyer who represents Lloyd's mother said she's moving forward with a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez's estate, which includes a home valued at $1.3 million.
However, it may not be plain sailing: Hernandez was due for an appeal at the time he died, and under a long-standing MA legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard.
"I just think it got to him - the guilt", Mixson Philip said. "That was a positive thing in our minds", said Alex Cugno, who grew up with Hernandez in Bristol. "Something just doesn't add up", added cousin Randy Garcia.