On Tuesday, Massachusetts Judge E. Susan Garsh erased the late Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction.
Before his apparent suicide three weeks ago, the Puerto Rican NFL star was serving a life sentence for the June 2013 murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd after he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015.
Hernandez's attorneys requested to dismiss the conviction under the principal of abatement, which allows convictions to be thrown out if the defendant dies before their appeal.
"Abatement has been practiced in federal and state courts for more than a century," Garsh said on Tuesday. "This court cannot know why Aaron Hernandez chose to end his life... a tragic act that may have complex and myriad causes."
She added that there is no proof that the pro athlete knew that his suicide could lead to his conviction being erased.
The decision doesn’t come without resistance, however. Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III has plans to appeal the abatement ruling, noting that he’s even willing to take the case to the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
"Despite the tragic ending to Aaron Hernandez's life, he should not reap the legal benefits of an antiquated rule," Quinn said. "State and federal courts from across the country have rejected this antiquated rule. Massachusetts, in my opinion, needs to follow suit."
Hernandez, 27, was found dead in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, on April 19.