FALL RIVER — The fiancee of Aaron Hernandez denied Tuesday that she lied to a grand jury about her actions after an execution-style murder that the former New England Patriots star is accused of committing in June.
Standing just a few feet away from relatives of the victim, Shayanna Jenkins softly pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge during her arraignment in Bristol Superior Court. She was released on her own recognizance.
Patrick Bomberg, a Bristol County prosecutor, requested that Jenkins be held on $5,000 bail, alleging she lied about her role in destroying evidence after the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd of Dorchester. His body was found near the home that Jenkins and Hernandez shared with their infant daughter in North Attleborough.
A key element of Jenkins’s alleged false testimony was her account of throwing away a box that authorities believe contained evidence in the killing.
Bomberg said that Jenkins, at the request of Hernandez, went to the basement of their home June 18, collected a box, put it in a plastic bag covered with baby clothes, and drove off in her sister’s car to toss the box in a dumpster.
When questioned at the Bristol County grand jury hearing about her actions, Bomberg said, Jenkins claimed she could not recall where she discarded the box. She also said she had gone out for baby formula, but testified that she did not remember where she went, despite being shown surveillance footage of her that day at an ATM in Plainville, according to prosecutors.
The statements came after Jenkins received immunity and was informed of her obligation to tell the truth, Bomberg said. “She told the grand jury she dumped [the box] in a dumpster, but she couldn’t tell anybody where it was,’’ he said. Bomberg added that Jenkins tried to get cleaners who worked at the couple’s house to sign nondisclosure agreements after Lloyd’s death. In addition, Bomberg said Jenkins, 24, falsely told police that Lloyd, who was dating her sister, dealt drugs.
“There was some motive to suggest that [Lloyd] had engaged in some untoward conduct,” Bomberg said.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and gun charges in the killing of Lloyd and is being held without bail. Two associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, are both facing accessory charges.
A lawyer for Jenkins, Janice Bassil, said she was in the grand jury hearing when her client testified and that she did not “contradict herself” about the box. “She really didn’t remember which dumpster she threw it in,’’ Bassil said.
Jenkins was also being honest when she testified she went to one of two stores that she regularly visited to purchase baby formula, but could not recall which one, Bassil said.
According to lawyers and court records, Jenkins appeared before the grand jury twice in August and initially invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. During the process, Bassil said, Jenkins endured “heavy, heavy-handed questioning.”
Regarding the nondisclosure pacts, Bassil said many people working in Patriots players’ homes have signed such agreements.
Bassil said Jenkins told police that she believed Lloyd was a drug dealer, but later “corrected” that statement before the grand jury, testifying that “to her knowledge,” she was aware of Lloyd providing Hernandez marijuana but “had no other evidence.”
Bassil said that Jenkins and Hernandez had a relationship in which they shared only parts of their lives with each other.
“Their relationship, in many ways,” Bassil said, “had elements of what I refer to as ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ”
If convicted on the perjury charge, Jenkins faces up to 20 years in prison. On Tuesday, Bassil called the indictment overreaching and said, “There certainly will be motions to dismiss filed in this case.”