Fans of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez were grateful when a judge threw out his murder conviction shortly after he killed himself in prison on April 19, 2017.
A sympathetic judge tossed out Hernandez's murder conviction in 2017, citing the archaic legal principal that erases a defendant's conviction if he dies while awaiting appeal.
At the time, Hernandez's family were relieved that he died an innocent man.
But Massachusetts' highest court reinstated Hernandez's murder conviction on Wednesday, saying the centuries old British doctrine was unfair to the victims.
The former New England Patriots tight end was convicted in 2015 of killing his friend, semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, because he believed Lloyd told others he was bisexual.
Two years later, the 27-year-old killed himself in his prison cell days after being acquitted of most charges in a separate double-murder case.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III argued the doctrine was outdated and unfair.
"He goes through a full trial, a jury who speaks for the public convicts him and because he dies, in this case commits suicide, the whole thing is wiped out like it never happened? It's not fair or just and should be changed," Quinn told reporters after the November hearing.
Under the new rule laid out by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the conviction will stand, but the court record will note the conviction was neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died while the appeal was pending.
Hernandez's attorney had previously argued the legal doctrine should remain intact, saying juries make mistakes.
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