Ursula Ward, the mother of Odin Lloyd, spoke publicly for the first time since Aaron Hernandez’s death on Friday. She appeared at a press conference alongside her lawyer Douglas Sheff and said that she had Hernandez in her prayers.
"I pray to God that his soul is at peace," she said.
During the press conference, Ward also spoke about the wrongful death lawsuit that she filed against Hernandez’s estate prior to his death. She still plans on following through with the lawsuit, and even though she admitted that "no amount" of money will ease the pain she still feels with regards to her son’s death at the hands of Hernandez, she is looking forward to having her day in court.
"It’s not about the civil case," she said. "It’s about my son, Odin Lloyd. It’s about families that lost their loved ones, and we need justice."
One problem that Ward and Sheff might run into in the coming months is that Hernandez’s guilty verdict from his 2015 criminal trial is likely going to be voided due to a legal loophole in the state of Massachusetts. It might allow Hernandez’s estate to collect about $6 million that the Patriots owed to him prior to his murder conviction. It also might allow his estate to collect his NFL pension. But it doesn’t automatically mean that Ward would get the money she is seeking through her civil suit.
With that in mind, Sheff also spoke during the press conference and called on the Patriots to step up and help settle the suit. He asked the team to pay Ward any money that could otherwise be owed to Hernandez.
"I want to issue a very friendly challenge to the New England Patriots—the best team in the NFL, the undisputed world champions of football," he said. "We urge the New England Patriots to work with the [NFL] Players Association to voluntarily make these payments. This would be the best thing to do, it would be the right thing to do, and that would make the Patriots Ursula Ward’s champion."
The Patriots have not yet responded to the request Sheff made, and while it seems unlikely that they would work to settle her lawsuit outside of the courts, all of the bad press the team continues to receive because of Hernandez could ultimately lead them to become involved in the legal proceedings in some way. We’ll have to wait to see what the courts decide to do with both Hernandez’s murder conviction and Ward’s civil suit.