Fiancee Of Aaron Hernandez pleads not guilty to perjury charge
FALL RIVER, Mass. — The fiancee and Bristol Central High School sweetheart of Aaron Hernandez was intentionally vague and untruthful when she testified before the grand jury investigating the former New England Patriot charged with murder, prosecutors said during Shayanna Jenkins’ first appearance as a defendant in Fall River Superior Court.
After attending several of her fiancee’s court hearings this summer, Jenkins on Tuesday was arraigned on a single count of perjury. She pleaded not guilty to her own charge and was released.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg said Jenkins during her testimony denied asking maids who cleaned the North Attleborough home she shared with Hernandez to sign non-disclosure agreements after Odin Lloyd’s June 17 death. The maids later testified before the grand jury that Jenkins did in fact ask them to sign documents, and copies of the non-disclose agreements were submitted as evidence, Bomberg said.
Prosecutors previously have disclosed that the maids testified about several guns they saw in the house, including the one investigators say was used to shoot and kill Lloyd. Authorities say that gun was later removed from the home, and have indicated they believe Jenkins helped dispose of it on June 18. Maids were at the home that day, court records show.
When Jenkins was asked to detail her actions on that day, Bomberg said, she said she could not remember the location of a dumpster in which she disposed a box in her basement after her fiancee asked her to remove it from the house. Carlos Ortiz, a suspect in the case, has told investigators that after the Lloyd shooting, Hernandez put weapons in a box in his basement.
“She described that she disposed of this box,” Bomberg said. But instead of providing details, he said, Jenkins repeatedly said she could not recall or had no memory of what she had done with the box.
Jenkins’ lawyer Janice Bassil said her client testified that she put it in one of two dumpsters, and simply could not remember which one. Bassil said the indictment was overreaching, and announced her intent to file motions for dismissal. Bassil described the relationship between Jenkins and her fiancée as “don’t ask don’t tell”
Prosecutors also said that during her testimony before the grand jury, Jenkins admitted to lying to investigators when she told them that Lloyd was a marijuana dealer. Bassil countered that Jenkins was confused — Lloyd had on occasion provided marijuana to Hernandez, but was not a dealer, she said.
Jenkins was indicted for perjury in September. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Her fiancée, the former Patriot tight end, has been held without bail since his June 26 murder arrest.
The grand jury has returned indictments for several other residents of Hernandez’s Bristol hometown who authorities say were involved in or had knowledge of the murder. Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, the former Patriot’s alleged accomplices the night of Lloyd’s slaying, are both accused of being accessories after the fact to murder.
Hernandez’s cousin Tanya Singleton, who lived at the Lake Avenue home that both Wallace and Ortiz used as an address, was charged with conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact. Authorities say Singleton had knowledge of Lloyd’s slaying and helped Wallace travel down to Florida to escape law enforcement.