The mother of the man who former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of killing says she is convinced justice was served even if the murder charge gets erased.
Courts in Massachusetts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard. Hernandez was serving a life sentence for killing Odin Lloyd when he hanged himself in his prison cell earlier this week.
Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, said Friday that a jury found Hernandez guilty of killing her son and that’s good enough for her.
All first-degree murder convictions in Massachusetts trigger an automatic appeal. Hernandez’s appeal was still in its early stages when he hanged himself.
Ward’s lawyer is asking the Patriots and the NFL Players Association to voluntarily give her whatever money Hernandez might still be owed.
Attorney Doug Sheff told reporters he had issued a “friendly challenge” to the Patriots, who cut the tight end in 2013, the same year he killed Odin Lloyd.
Sheff said he thinks the team might have owed Hernandez up to $6 million. The suit seeks to recover that plus proceeds from the eventual sale of Hernandez’s $1.3 million home, a Hummer and any other assets.
The team didn’t immediately comment on his request.
Sheff is representing Ward in a wrongful-death lawsuit. He said Friday that he wants to be certain that any of Hernandez’s assets go to help support Ward.
It’s unclear what assets Hernandez had and how they might be distributed. Hernandez’s fiancée and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter also would have legal claims to his estate.
Ward said Hernandez’s suicide in prison has reopened old wounds and that she is reliving the pain of her son’s murder.
“I lost my son, the love of my life,” Ward told reporters. “I’ll never ever see him again.”
Ward said she still forgives Hernandez and that she prays he found peace after hanging himself.