The 27-year-old had just been acquitted of double-murder charges in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men outside a Boston nightclub. He was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, but had just started the appeals process.
With Hernandez’s death, his conviction of the Lloyd murder was voided because of a little-known legal doctrine in Massachusetts that voids convictions if a defendant dies before the appeals process is complete. Because he was not legally a convicted murder, some believe that his estate is entitled to $6.5 million in held contract money by the New England Patriots.
But whether Hernandez’s conviction remains voided is an open question. Sports Illustrated reports that the district attorney is planning to appeal the judge’s decision to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a process that could take several months. Additionally, Hernandez was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. That felony would also need to be voided.
But if those legal obstacles can be surmounted and Hernandez’s estate is awarded $6.5 million, who gets the money?
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Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, addresses the question in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on Tuesday’s episode of Dr. Phil. (PEOPLE has obtained an exclusive clip, seen above.)
“Did he leave a will?” McGraw asks Jenkins-Hernandez.
“He did not, to my knowledge,” she replies.
Related Video: Aaron Hernandez’s Suicide Note to His Fiancée Released: ‘You’re Rich’
The conversation turns to the couple’s 4-year daughter, Avielle Janelle Jenkins-Hernandez.
“Is she entitled to that estate, in your opinion?” McGraw asks.
“My thought is that she should be,” Jenkins-Hernandez answers.
When asked if she should serve as the trustee of the estate, she nods her head, “As her mother, absolutely,”Jenkins-Hernandez says. “I don’t think there’s anyone better.”
Later, McGraw asking the lingering question. “Did Aaron kill himself so you could collect $6.5 million from the New England Patriots?”
Jenkins-Hernandez’s exclusive two-part interview on Dr. Phil airs continues on May 16. Check local listings for times.