Shayanna Jenkins, the longtime girlfriend and fiancee of former New England Patriots star and accused murderer Aaron Hernandez, is reportedly at the center of the Odin Lloyd homicide investigation, and she could be called to testify in a future trial.
During Wednesday’s arraignment hearing, prosecutor Bill McCauley laid out the state’s evidence against Hernandez. According to McCauley’s summary, Jenkins initially cooperated with the Massachusetts State Police’s investigation into Hernandez’s potential role in the Lloyd murder. But Jenkins reportedly stopped cooperating after Hernandez told her to stop talking to police.
According to Massachusetts state law, Jenkins would not have to testify against Hernandez if the couple decided to marry before she was called to the stand. “A spouse shall not be compelled to testify in the trial of an indictment, complaint, or other criminal proceeding brought against the other spouse.” In other words, Jenkins could legally refuse to provide evidence that would incriminate Hernandez in the Lloyd homicide investigation.
Additionally, Pro Football Talk notes that Massachusetts law “recognizes the concept of spousal disqualification.” In other words, Jenkins would not be able to discuss communications that occurred during the couple’s marriage, even if she felt inclined to do so.
Hernandez and Jenkins could also claim to be united by common-law marriage, Pro Football Talk notes. The couple has been together since their high school days, but an actual marriage would make it far easier for Jenkins to invoke spousal privilege.
Besides being his girlfriend, Jenkins is the mother of Hernandez’s baby. Avielle Janelle, the couple’s infant daughter, was born last November, NESN reported. At the time, Hernandez called the birth of his first child a “life-changer.”
“I’m engaged now, and I have a baby. So, it’s just gonna make me think of life a lot differently and doing things the right way,” Hernandez told NESN. “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 and [her] be raised like I was raised.”
Jenkins and Hernandez have reportedly been together since 2007, when they attended Bristol Central High School, multiple outlets report. They became engaged around the time their daughter was born. What's more, Lloyd was reportedly dating Shanea Jenkins, Shayanna’s sister, at the time he was killed.