Was it the alleged smoking gun?
Four weeks into testimony against murder suspect Aaron Hernandez, the prosecution is beginning to link together certain elements of the case against the former New England Patriot.
In a Massachusetts court Tuesday, during testimony by one of three cleaning ladies in the Hernandez household, prosecutors showed video of Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, taking a trash bag from the house and placing it in the trunk of her sister’s car.
Her sister, Shaneah Jenkins, was the girlfriend of victim Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player, at the time of his murder.
Lloyd, 27, was shot once in the back and six times in the front in June 2013, with the final two bullets fired as he lay face up, according to the medical examiner. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. The murder weapon has not been found.
In the video shown to the jury Tuesday, Jenkins appears to walk out the back patio door of the Hernandez home carrying a heavy, black trash bag. At one point, she puts it down, and places a pile of clothes into the bag, picks it up again, and goes to the garage.
One of her maids then moves a white van out of the way to clear a path for Jenkins. Jenkins then hoists the bag into the trunk of her sister’s car.
Prosecutors allege Jenkins may have been following instructions from Hernandez to get rid of the murder weapon from their home by removing the gun inside a box, putting it in a black trash bag, and borrowing her sister’s car to dispose of the bag in a dumpster.
According to court documents, Jenkins doesn’t remember where she took the bag.
Jenkins, who was Hernandez’s high school sweetheart, has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to a grand jury several times about the presence of guns in the couple’s North Attleboro home, among other issues.
She could face jail time if found guilty of perjury. She has pleaded not guilty.
In an effort to prevent her from pleading the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, prosecutors have granted Jenkins immunity, compelling her to testify when they call her as witness in Lloyd’s murder.
Prosecutors allege that on the day after Lloyd was killed, Jenkins got a coded text message from Hernandez.
Hernandez asked Jenkins to get something out of their basement, according to search warrants.
“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 shorthand for “talk to you later.”
In court, jurors have been shown stills from another home surveillance video in the home. Referring to the pictures, Shaneah Jenkins described how her sister carried a trash bag to the basement.
Prosecutors allege Jenkins placed the gun inside the garbage bag, covered it with children’s clothing, and carried it to the car before driving away.
Shayanna Jenkins borrowed her sister’s car to dispose of the bag — something her sister told investigators she had never done before.
When Jenkins returned home, she was captured on the same security system, but without the bag. Jenkins told a grand jury she threw it in a dumpster, but couldn’t remember where, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors suspect the still-missing murder weapon was inside.
Hernandez’s lawyers have argued there’s no way of knowing what was in the box.
“I mean, who knows?” Hernandez co-counsel Jamie Sultan told the court in 2014. “It could be drugs. It could be something that was connected to this crime that he knew about, that he was covering up for somebody else after the fact. There are all kinds of possibilities.”