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Another lawsuit emerges in the Aaron Hernandez legal saga

Boston, MA - 3/27/2017 - Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez sits at the defense table during his double murder trial of at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, MA, March 27, 2017. Hernandez is charged in the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado who he encountered in a Boston nightclub. The former NFL football player already is serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
Keith Bedford/Globe Staff, file 2017
Aaron Hernandez during his 2017 trial for the murders of Daniel de Abreu, and Safiro Furtado, for which he was acquitted.

Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, the mother of Aaron Hernandez’s daughter, has filed suit against the estates of three men the former New England Patriots star was accused of killing, seeking to guarantee the child will receive proceeds from the sale of Hernandez’s former home.

She filed the suit in Bristol Superior Court last month on behalf of her daughter, Avielle Hernandez. The lawsuit seeks a judgment that the homestead declaration filed by Hernandez on his North Attleborough home in 2013 remains in effect for his daughter’s benefit.

State law allows homeowners who have filed a “declaration of homestead” to protect the value of their property, according to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office. Specifically, the declaration can protect against seizure, execution on judgment, levy or sale for the payment of debts up to $500,000 per home.

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Avielle Hernandez, who is 5, has moved out of the home to facilitate a court-ordered sale, according to court documents. She currently lives with her mother in Rhode Island.

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The suit names representatives of the estates of Odin Lloyd, Daniel de Abreu, and Safiro Furtado, as well as Hernandez’s estate, as defendants.

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff, file 2017
Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez and Avielle Hernandez in 2017.

Hernandez was convicted in Bristol Superior Court in 2015 of murdering Lloyd in an industrial park near the football star’s North Attleborough home. That conviction was vacated because of Hernandez’s suicide in April 2017, which occurred five days after he was acquitted of murdering de Abreu and Furtado.

According to court documents, a probate and family judge ordered last month that $500,000 from the sale of Hernandez’s former North Attleborough home be held in escrow until the Bristol Superior Court determines whether the homestead declaration “remains in effect for the benefit of Avielle Hernandez.”

In her complaint, Jenkins Hernandez argues that Hernandez agreed to sell the home several years ago, but never agreed “to waive the homestead exclusion.”

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The value of Hernandez’s former property in North Attleborough is estimated at more than $1.2 million.

Douglas K. Sheff, the lawyer for Lloyd’s mother, said the complaint has no merit.

The suit seeks a result that is opposed by the personal representative of Hernandez’s estate, “who has filed a motion to release all homestead restrictions,” he said in a statement.

“The complaint is an attempt to divert the proceeds from the sale of the house away from the victims, such as Odin Lloyd’s family,” he said. “We will fight to protect these victims of wrongful death and the integrity of the civil justice system.”

Lloyd’s family has filed an ongoing wrongful death suit against Hernandez’s estate, Sheff said.

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George Leontire, a lawyer for Jenkins Hernandez, rejected Sheff’s assertions.

“First of all, he needs to get a judgment, he doesn’t have a judgment yet,” he said. “Secondly, homestead is a valid instrument in Massachusetts. We’ll see what the court says.”

An attorney for the de Abreu and Furtado families, William T. Kennedy, declined to comment on Jenkins Hernandez’s suit.

Akilah Johnson and Milton J. Valencia of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.