Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is in a Bristol County, Massachusetts, court to face a charge of murder for the killing of 26-year-old Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
On Tuesday, Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, was granted immunity by the judge, throwing a large cloud of mystery on the trial.
According to prosecutors, Jenkins has already committed perjury for lying to a grand jury.
Carlos Ortiz and Ernes Wallace Jr. are also facing murder charges.
Opening statements in Hernandez’s trial began January 29. But it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Heavy snow in the area has postponed 3 days of testimony and a second juror was dismissed Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know about Jenkins and the case:
1. Jenkins Was Granted Immunity by The Prosecutors
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh granted immunity to Jenkins to testify for the prosecution.
Jenkins met with Bristol County, Massachusetts, prosecutors in early January in what was called an immunity meeting. But what happened in that meeting remained secret. Not even Hernandez’s defense team knows what went on inside the meeting room.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said:
It allows the prosecutor to force her to testify in front of the jury without taking the Fifth (Amendment against self incrimination). If she lies, she can still be prosecuted for perjury because a grant of immunity never (immunizes) someone against committing perjury on the witness stand.
There is no law in Massachusetts allowing engaged couples to avoid testifying against one another.
Just because she has been granted immunity, Jenkins is not obligated to testify. Though if she doesn’t, she could face jail time.
2. She Has Been In Court Showing Support For Hernandez
Despite being granted immunity, Jenkins has been in the courtroom showing support for Hernandez.
She has been spotted wearing a sparkling engagement ring.
Jenkins was said to have been smiling back and forth with Hernandez during trial on Wednesday – the day after she was granted immunity – in a sign the defense must find encouraging.
Hernandez has apparently also been seen mouthing the words “I love you” to Jenkins.
3. Prosecutors Said Jenkins Has Lied to a Grand Jury
Prosecutors believe Jenkins helped Hernandez dispose of the alleged murder weapon, which has not been recovered.
On the day after Lloyd’s killing, prosecutors say Jenkins got a coded text message from Hernandez.
Search warrants say Hernandez asked his Jenkins to get something out of their basement.
Go … in back of the screen in movie room when u (sic) get home an (sic) there is a box … jus (sic) in case u were looking for it!!! Member (sic) how you ruined the big tv … WAS JUST THINKIN bout that lol wink wink love u TTYL….K
TTYL is “talk to you later.”
Prosecutors said Jenkins lied to a grand jury several times about the presence of guns in the home they shared. She faces possible jail time if found guilty of perjury charges. She has pleaded not guilty.
4. Jenkins’ Sister Was Dating Odin Lloyd at The Time of His Death
Shayanna’s sister Shaneah was the girlfriend of Lloyd when he was killed. Prosecutors say Lloyd was shot 6 times on June 17, 2013, in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Lloyd was a linebacker for a semi-professional football team, the Boston Bandits.
Shaneah has largely stayed out of the spotlight, but spoke about Lloyd last year. But she has already testified against Hernandez.
5. Jenkins & Hernandez Have a 2-Year-Old Daughter
On November 6, 2012, the couple became parents to a baby girl named Avielle Janelle. Less than a year later on June 26, 2013, Hernandez was arrested for the crime.
Jenkins and Hernandez have been a couple since high school in Bristol, Connecticut.
The 2 graduated in 2007 and remained together as Hernandez attended the University of Florida.
And while Jenkins has been wearing an engagement ring, there is no information about a wedding.