The fiancée of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez said at a hearing Friday that she was asked to conceal a box and take it out of her Massachusetts home after the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.
Shayanna Jenkins’ testimony came outside the presence of the jury during a hearing on the limits of her testimony. But it signaled where the prosecution intends to take its questioning of the key witness, who took the stand before the jury later Friday. She is testifying after being granted immunity.
Hernandez, the ex-tight end who had a $40 million contract until he was charged with murder, has pleaded not guilty to orchestrating the death of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player. He has also pleaded not guilty to other weapons charges.
His co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have also pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.
“You took that box out and concealed it. Were you attempting to do it in a way so that people didn’t know what you were doing?” Bristol County District Attorney William McCauley asked.
“That’s correct,” Jenkins said.
The weapon in the case has not been recovered.
The prosecution has said Hernandez’s high school sweetheart removed the weapon from their North Attleboro home after Lloyd was killed on June 17, 2013. The state also alleges that she lied to a grand jury several times about the presence of guns in the home.
She faces possible jail time if found guilty of perjury charges. Jenkins has pleaded not guilty.
Jenkins testified she was “instructed” to take the box out of the home, and that it was “important” for her to get rid of it.
On the day after Lloyd’s killing, prosecutors have said Jenkins received a coded text message from Hernandez. Search warrants said Hernandez asked his fiancée to remove something from their basement.
The text message said: “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”
Asked about the text message Friday afternoon, in the presence of the jury, Jenkins said she didn’t know what it meant.
Jenkins also told the jury that she met her fiance’s two alleged accomplices in the killing of Lloyd and gave them $500 in cash as police were questioning Hernandez about the slaying.
Jenkins testified that she took Hernandez to a police station on June 18, 2013, and that he asked her to give Wallace money.
Wallace was comforting to her, Jenkins told the jury.
“He said everything would be OK,” she said.
She went to a bank ATM and withdrew $500 to give Wallace.
“I don’t remember the dollar amount he asked for but I remember telling him that was the amount I could take out,” she testified.
Hours after Lloyd’s death, Jenkins said, Hernandez appeared “normal” and his two alleged accomplices appeared “fine.”
Jenkins, 25, and Hernandez are the parents of a daughter who was just a year old when her father was arrested on June 26, 2013.
Her sister Shaneah was dating Lloyd, 27, who was shot six times, according to prosecutors.
At one point, McCauley asked Jenkins if she ever saw guns in the home.
She told the jury that she saw one “in the kitchen junk drawer.”
Prosecution witnesses have testified that Lloyd was shot to death with a .45-caliber Glock handgun.
McCauley approached Jenkins on the stand with a Glock similar to the one used in the murder.
“Is that a secured firearm?” she asked, moving back slightly.
McCauley asked if the Glock’s shape was similar to the one she saw in the junk drawer.
“Yes,” she responded.
“I’m not sure,” she told the jury.
Jenkins’ testimony resumes next week.