Shayanna Jenkins, Aaron Hernandez's fianceé and mother of his child, continued her testimony in his murder trial Monday by answering a series of questions about a box that prosecutors said contained the murder weapon.
Hernandez is accused of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, who was the boyfriend of Shayanna's sister, Shaneah, at the time of his death.
Shayanna removed the box, covered in a black bag, from their home the day after Lloyd was murdered. She that Hernandez called her and told her it was "important" for her to dispose of a large cardboard box that was kept in their storage room, but she says she never learned what it contained. Prosecutors allege the murder weapon — a Glock .45 — was in this box.
During her testimony, Shayanna was asked if Hernandez ever told her what was in the box. She said he did not, and said she never asked. When prosecutors asked if she rummaged through the box, she said she did not. She told the jury that all she saw in the box were a few smaller boxes and some clothing. She says she added baby clothing to the top of the box, but quickly mentioned that she was not concealing its contents.
According to her memory, the box was roughly 35 to 40 pounds.
During cross-examination by Hernandez's attorney, he asked if the box was maybe closer to 25 pounds. Shayanna had previously indicated that the box was about the same weight as her daughter, who was 25 pounds at the time.
Hernandez's attorney asked Shayanna if she smelled anything in the box, and she said it smelled "funky," and she believes it might have contained marijuana. This is the first time she has offered a theory about what the box might have contained.
Footage from the home's surveillance system shows Shayanna carrying the large bag and box out through the backyard and bringing it to the driveway to put it in the trunk of her sister's car. She said she didn't put it in the backseat because it was too large.
Shayanna told the jury that she does not remember the site where she disposed of the box, saying the emotions of everyone around her – including Shaneah and Hernandez – were weighing on her and made her nervous. She says she drove around southern Massachusetts aimlessly, trying to shake off nerves.
Shayanna was granted an immunity deal in exchange for testifying in February, and there was speculation about how she would approach her obligation to take the stand. When it was clear that she was not going to remain silent, which would likely lead to contempt of court charges, the next question was about how much she would say. Would she flip on Hernandez and give the prosecutors strong evidence? Would she speak as obligated but claim she couldn't remember details, large or small, about the days leading up to Hernandez's arrest? Or would she lie, and risk perjury charges to protect Hernandez?
Earlier in the trial, her sister Shaneah testified that Shayanna told her she needed to borrow her car to get money to pay the housekeepers. Shaneah said it was unusual for Shayanna to borrow her car, and that she seemed anxious when she left the house. A housekeeper later testified that Shayanna paid them with a check.
On Monday, a copy of that check was shown to the jury.
Surveillance video showed Shayanna at an ATM in Plainville, Mass. during her outing the day after Lloyd was murdered. A bank statement showed that Shayanna withdrew $800 from the ATM in Plainville, and $500 from an ATM in East Greenwich earlier that day. When asked why she was withdrawing money, Shayanna told the jury she needed to pay the housekeepers.
The prosecutor showed a photo of a $300 check made out to her housekeeper for "Weekly Cleaning."
Prosecutors did not give any reasons for her $1,300 withdrawal, but on Friday Shayanna testified that she went to Rhode Island to meet with a Hernandez co-defendant to give him some money at Hernandez's request.
Shayanna maintained that she had no further conversations with Hernandez about the removal of the mysterious box, and what it might have contained.
Courtroom reporters say Shaneah Jenkins left the courtroom in tears as her sister testified about where she went and why on the day after Odin Lloyd was murdered. She returned a few minutes later.
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Lindsey Adler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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