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

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez listens as the guilty verdict is read during his murder trial, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. (Dominick Reuter/Pool Photo via AP)

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.

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 (GAY’-gehnz) 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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