Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez is the fiancee of Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots tight end who was convicted on murder charges related to the death of Odin Lloyd. On April 19, 2017, Hernandez died after attempting suicide in his prison cell. He was serving a life sentence.
Hernandez and Jenkins, who later took Hernadez’s last name despite never marrying him, were the parents of a 4-year-old daughter, Avielle Janelle Hernandez.
Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd after being found dead a week ago with multiple gunshot wounds and with shell casings that matched the guns owned by Hernandez. The football star was not originally a suspect, but his refusal to cooperate with investigators turned them on to him. His fiancee, Jenkins, will play a crucial role in the investigation as investigators try to piece together all of the details of the case. Here’s what you need to know about Shayanna Jenkins.
1. Shayanna Jenkins’ Sister is Shaneah Jenkins, the Girlfriend of Odin Lloyd
Aaron Hernandez is connected to the victim Odin Lloyd through his finance Jenkins, whose younger sister Shaneah was supposedly dating victim Odin Lloyd. Shaneah initially made no comments on the case but her Facebook does list her as being “single.” Lloyd went out to a bar the with Hernandez and his friends the night of his disappearance and murder.
In 2014, Shaneah spoke out to NECN, telling the network that she was still having trouble processing Lloyd’s death.
“To be honest with you, I don’t at this point. I’m still kind of in denial. In my head, I kind of tell myself that this is one of the moments he is in Boston and I’m in Connecticut, and so I really haven’t processed that part yet. It’s really hard,” Shaneah said.
Although he refused to talk about her sister to NECN, Shaneah recalled the moment she heard Lloyd was dead:
It was a Tuesday morning. Early Tuesday morning. I was sleeping. I got a phone call. I looked at my phone. I was a Massachusetts number. I didn’t recognize it so I didn’t answer. I got another phone call right after, so I was worried. I thought maybe it was him. I needed to pick up, and it was Trooper Benson, and he told me that. He told me that Odin had been killed. And he was found on the side of the road somewhere and immediately started asking me questions about his whereabouts. Anything that I could possibly know because he told me I could possibly hold the key to the investigation. And then I just remember kind of blacking out, calling my mom, crying. I couldn’t really talk. I was pacing around my apartment just crying and kind of screaming. And I just immediately knew that I had to come here. I needed to be with his family. So I just got in the car and left and I don’t know how I got up here. I just cried the whole way. Yeah, it was really difficult.
During her testimony at Hernandez’s trial for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in 2015, Jenkins told the court that she was estranged “kind of” from her sister.
2. She & Hernandez Went to High School Together
The couple met back in high school and graduated together in 2007 from Bristol Central High School in Bristol, Connecticut. According to MaxPreps.com, Hernandez played football and basketball at the school. He racked up 3,437 receiving yards, with 45 receiving touchdowns. Hernandez was considered a local hero, someone kids looked up to before his fall from grace.
“I was probably, like, 10 years old, playing midget football and loving going to the high school games and thinking of them as professionals, and just looking at this guy breaking all the records and scoring touchdowns and everything,” Rafi Hamzy told the Boston Globe in 2015. “It was awesome.”
3. She’s 27 Years Old
Born in 1989, Jenkins remained with Hernandez after high school and through his college years at the University of Florida where he played tight end and majored in sociology.
4. Jenkins & Hernandez Are the Parents of 4-Year-Old Avielle Janelle Hernandez
On November 6, 2012, the couple became parents to a baby girl named Avielle Janelle. Around that time, Hernandez told reporters that he wanted to change his ways since becoming a father.
Now, another one is looking up to me. I can’t just be young and reckless Aaron no more. I’m gonna try to do the right things, become a good father.
Hernandez also reportedly has a tattoo on his left arm that reads, “If it is to be, it is up to me,” that reflects the responsibility and behavioral changed he faced in the wake of being a father.
According to Yahoo Sports, Avielle was seen at court for the first time on April 12, when her father was on trial for the double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012. Hernandez was later acquitted of those murder charges, but he remained in jail because he was sentenced to life in prison for Lloyd’s murder.
5. They Lived Together in North Attleborough, Massachusetts
The two lived together with their baby daughter in a mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. The large home was the scene of a dramatic moment, when Hernandez answered the door shirtless, only to find six police officers ready to arrest him. Jenkins did appear in the video footage and it is unclear as to whether or not she was in the house at the time.
In August 2015, the home was sold in a civil lawsuit against Hernandez that was filed by Lloyd’s mother, Ursuala Ward, reports the Boston Globe. The home was valued at $1.3 million. At the time, Jennkins listed a Rhode Island address as her home during the trial.
6. They Were Going to Get Married
Hernandez and Jenkins have been engaged since the birth of their daughter in November 2012. Some have questioned whether or not the two will still be getting married despite the arrest and possible conviction. Their marriage could potentially complicate the trail.
The question of whether or not Jenkins will be able to refuse to testify against her fiancee in court has been raised. Under Massachusetts law, if Hernandez and Jenkins get married before his trial, she will not have to testify under spousal privilege.
“A spouse shall not be compelled to testify in the trial of an indictment, complaint, or other criminal proceeding brought against the other spouse,” the law reads.
7. She Testified That Hernandez Had Her Throw Away a Box After Lloyd Was Killed
During the trial, ABC News reported that Jenkins testified that Hernandez told her to get rid of a mysterious box on the afternoon after Lloyd was killed. He told her to “go downstairs in our storage and remove a box from our home,” she testified, adding that she threw it away in a “random dumpster.”
Police think the box could have had the murder weapon inside. The murder weapon was never found.
She also told the jury that she was suspicious of Hernandez cheating on her, seeing strange phone messages. She also said that he stayed away from the house for a few weeks. However, they ultimately decided to stay together and fix their relationship.
NECN reports that Jenkins also testified that Hernandez was drunk in the hours before he killed Lloyd.
8. She Once Faced Perjury Charges, Even Though Her Testimony Helped Convict Hernnandez
Even though her testimony ultimately helped prosecutors convict Hernandez, they indicted Jenkins for perjury. She was accused of lying in 2013 to protect him, but in May 2015, the charges were dismissed, the Hartford Courant reported.
Prosecutors said that she lied during a grand jury hearing, but she was granted immunity if she testified during the trial. Since she followed through, prosecutors asked that the perjury charges be dropped.
“Her testimony at the trial concerned transactions and matters that are the subject of this indictment,” Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg wrote inn a motion to get the perjury charges dropped. “As a result, the Commonwealth may not further prosecute the defendant on the above-captioned indictment and this indictment should be dismissed.”
9. She Took Hernandez’s Last Name, Even Though They Never Married
In 2015, Jenkins legally became Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, reports Yahoo Sports, even though they were never married.
Since they never legally married, Jenkins could still testify during the double murder trial. According to CBS Boston, Jenkins said she never asked Hernandez about the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, even though prosecutors said he called her moments after it happened.
“I played my role,” she testified. “I cleaned and did everything else. There was no reason for me to ask any questions.”
She said she did find a gun in a “junk drawer, but was not bothered by it.
10. Jenkins Was Not a Suspect
Although authorities think she may have information vital to the case, she is not be implicated in the events of the murder.