When tight end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in jail, many Patriots fans thought the final chapter of that troubled story had come to an end. Once the toast of a team full of great players, Hernandez had long since fallen from glory, culminating in his arrest for murder.
However, even Hernandez’s death, followed by his guilty verdict in the murder of one man being vacated, was far from the end of it.
Lawyers for the families of two men who died shortly after an altercation with late former Patriot Aaron Hernandez are now asking the Patriots for compensation. The families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who died in a drive-by shooting in July 2012, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hernandez’s estate, and made the request of the Patriots as part of a Tuesday hearing in Suffolk (Mass.) Superior Court.
“We would welcome the Patriots looking into that issue and doing the right thing, which is to compensate the victims,” said Kenneth Kolpan, one of the attorneys, according to the Boston Globe.
Hernandez committed suicide in April while in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was found guilty of murdering Lloyd in June 2013, and evidence that turned up during that investigation led police to the unsolved murders of de Abreu and Furtado. Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, has filed a separate suit against Hernandez’s estate, and has called on the Patriots to contribute $6 million she claims New England still owes to Hernandez’s estate. Those funds would then be available for any civil suit claimants. Hernandez was a member of the Patriots at the time of the three deaths.
There are problems with Ward’s claim, not the least of which is that Hernandez’s conviction was vacated.
For me, the more interesting point is the argument that the Patriots should give money they supposedly owe to Hernandez to Ward instead, even if just in part. First, it’s far from a sure thing that the Patriots even owe the money. They may, but that process is still very much up in the air, so it would be rather premature for the Patriots to pay any money to Ward.
Not only that, but would paying Ward the reported $6 million actually settle any accounts with the Hernandez estate? After all, absent some contract or court order directing them to pay anyone but the estate, sending money to a grieving mother rather than the estate of the player owed could potentially open the team to having to pay the estate as well.
Needless to say, the team isn’t likely to do anything of the sort if they can help it and for understandable reasons.
To be sure, though, money-grubbing attorneys don’t really care about that. They’d rather paint the team in a negative light until they fork over money they may not even owe.