(NECN) -- A judge has thrown out the 2013 murder conviction of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a separate double slaying in 2012.

Hernandez's appellate attorneys made their request under a long-standing legal principle in Massachusetts holding that when defendants die before their direct appeal is decided, their convictions should be vacated.

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