Home / National News / The Sisters at the Heart of the Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial


(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — The victim’s family is not the only one being torn apart during the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. Odin Lloyd’s murder also has divided two sisters.

Hernandez, a former NFL star, is engaged to and has a young daughter with Shayanna Jenkins, whose sister, Shaneah Jenkins, was dating Lloyd at the time of his June 2013 death.

The relationship between Hernandez and Lloyd has been debated during the ongoing murder trial, but the rift between the two sisters is abundantly clear.

Shayanna Jenkins, who has been a regular attendant of every hearing since Hernandez’s arrest in late June 2013, has been sitting in the rows behind her fiance, regularly comforting his mother and relatives when they are in court.

Her sister, however, sits on the other side of the court with Lloyd’s mother, behind the state prosecutors.

The murder trial is showing the divide that Lloyd’s June 2013 death has created between the once-close sisters.

The sisters and Hernandez have known each other for at least nine years, as both sisters and Hernandez attended Bristol Central High School in Bristol, Connecticut.

Hernandez, now 25, was a star of the school’s football team and went on to play for the University of Florida.

Shayanna Jenkins, who was in the same grade and is also 25, was a member of the track team.

Her sister, Shaneah Jenkins, is two years younger. She was listed as a member of the honor roll after her freshman year and Hernandez received the same award during that same semester, when he had just finished his junior year.

Not much is publicly known about what Shaneah Jenkins has done since high school but, at the time of his death, she was dating Lloyd, a semi-professional football player.

More is known about Shayanna Jenkins and her relationship with Hernandez, given his high profile at Florida and, later, in Massachusetts after he was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010.

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Avielle, on Hernandez’s 23rd birthday.

“It’s definitely a great experience. She’s a beautiful little girl. I’m excited,” he told The Providence Journal in November 2012, two days after she was born.

“It’s the best birthday you can have, having a daughter on your birthday, especially a daddy’s little girl,” he said.

Now, the family’s drama is playing out in court.

Shaneah Jenkins testified Wednesday that she had always been close with her sister, but was taken aback when her sister made an unusual request in the hours after she learned Lloyd had been killed.

She said that she went over to the home that her sister shared with Hernandez and that her sister began acting strangely and “secretive” as she received a string of texts and phone calls.

At one point, Shayanna Jenkins went down to the basement and got a large garbage bag before going to the backyard, Shaneah Jenkins testified. After coming back inside, Shayanna Jenkins reportedly asked to borrow her sister’s car for a sudden trip to the bank, and Shaneah Jenkins said in court that it was not something that had ever happened before.

This isn’t the first time when Shayanna Jenkins’ actions in the hours after Lloyd’s death have come into question, and she was charged with perjury after allegedly lying dozens of times to a grand jury about Hernandez’s alleged involvement in the murder.

She reportedly told the grand jury that she dumped the garbage bag in a dumpster, but couldn’t recall where the dumpster was, nor did she ever ask what was inside the bag.

Her attorney, Janice Bassil, tried to dismiss the omissions as simply the way that the couple’s relationship worked.

“Their relationship, in many ways, had what I refer to as a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ aspect,” Bassil said during a bail hearing in October 2013.

Shayanna Jenkins has not yet taken the stand but she was included on a list of possible witnesses submitted by the prosecution.

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