Boston Herald: Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee given immunity

Boston Herald: Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee given immunity

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
By Antonio Planas

With immunity granted to Aaron Hernandez's fiancee, prosecutors plan to put her on the witness stand in the ex-Patriot's murder trial in a move observers say holds many unknowns but could be a "game changer."

Shayanna Jenkins, who was facing a perjury charge, has been granted immunity by Judge E. Susan Garsh, according to a document issued yesterday out of Bristol County Superior Court.

Jenkins, Hernandez's high school sweetheart and mother of his toddler daughter, was accused of lying to a grand jury 29 times. Legal experts said yesterday's ruling only guarantees that prosecutors, faced with a largely circumstantial case, believe she could be critical to their case. She could now face contempt of court proceedings if she refuses to testify and can't claim a fear of self-incrimination.

"We know that they want her on the stand, and they're one step closer to getting her there," said Brad Bailey, a defense attorney who was formerly a federal and state prosecutor. "It would be hard to envision her testifying so long as her perjury charge is still up there. … It runs the spectrum from her taking a contempt citation and refusing to answer any questions … to it being a real game changer in which she says that she in fact did get rid of the murder weapon."

Prosecutors contend Jenkins helped dispose of the missing .45-caliber Glock used to kill Odin L. Lloyd on June 17, 2013.

Hernandez's first-degree murder trial in Lloyd's death continues today in Fall River. Lloyd, 27, was dating Jenkins' sister, Shaneah Jenkins, who has taken the stand multiple times for the prosecution. Lloyd's body was found riddled with six bullets in an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleboro mansion.

During the trial, Shaneah has sat in the courtroom with the Lloyds, while Shayanna, when there, sat with Hernandez's family.

Gerard T. Leone Jr., a defense attorney and former Middlesex district attorney, noted that allegiance, in theory, should be thrown out of the window because of the court-ordered immunity.

"You've been given immunity. Whether you like it or not, you should answer all questions truthfully. It remains to be seen whether she'll say what she knows under oath," Leone said.

Bailey said the unknown adds intrigue to an already dramatic case, noting defense attorneys could have a "field day" cross-examining Jenkins.

"This is somebody who has not only been labeled a liar previously by the prosecution but has been charged as being a liar," he said.

With immunity granted to Aaron Hernandez's fiancee, prosecutors plan to put her on the witness stand in the ex-Patriot's murder trial in a move observers say holds many unknowns but could be a "game changer."

Shayanna Jenkins, who was facing a perjury charge, has been granted immunity by Judge E. Susan Garsh, according to a document issued yesterday out of Bristol County Superior Court.

Jenkins, Hernandez's high school sweetheart and mother of his toddler daughter, was accused of lying to a grand jury 29 times. Legal experts said yesterday's ruling only guarantees that prosecutors, faced with a largely circumstantial case, believe she could be critical to their case. She could now face contempt of court proceedings if she refuses to testify and can't claim a fear of self-incrimination.

"We know that they want her on the stand, and they're one step closer to getting her there," said Brad Bailey, a defense attorney who was formerly a federal and state prosecutor. "It would be hard to envision her testifying so long as her perjury charge is still up there. … It runs the spectrum from her taking a contempt citation and refusing to answer any questions … to it being a real game changer in which she says that she in fact did get rid of the murder weapon."

Prosecutors contend Jenkins helped dispose of the missing .45-caliber Glock used to kill Odin L. Lloyd on June 17, 2013.

Hernandez's first-degree murder trial in Lloyd's death continues today in Fall River. Lloyd, 27, was dating Jenkins' sister, Shaneah Jenkins, who has taken the stand multiple times for the prosecution. Lloyd's body was found riddled with six bullets in an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleboro mansion.

During the trial, Shaneah has sat in the courtroom with the Lloyds, while Shayanna, when there, sat with Hernandez's family.

Gerard T. Leone Jr., a defense attorney and former Middlesex district attorney, noted that allegiance, in theory, should be thrown out of the window because of the court-ordered immunity.

"You've been given immunity. Whether you like it or not, you should answer all questions truthfully. It remains to be seen whether she'll say what she knows under oath," Leone said.

Bailey said the unknown adds intrigue to an already dramatic case, noting defense attorneys could have a "field day" cross-examining Jenkins.

"This is somebody who has not only been labeled a liar previously by the prosecution but has been charged as being a liar," he said.