crimesider

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee has perjury charge dropped

FALL RIVER, Mass. - A perjury charge was dropped Friday against the fiancee of former New England Patriots star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez.

Shayanna Jenkins had pleaded not guilty to perjury. Prosecutors had said she lied dozens of times to the grand jury that investigated the death of Odin Lloyd, who was dating her younger sister. Hernandez was convicted last month of killing Lloyd.

In a filing Thursday, prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the charge against Jenkins, citing her testimony in Hernandez's trial in March.

On Friday, in a hearing that lasted just minutes, Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh agreed and dismissed the charge.

Outside court, Jenkins said, "I'm feeling great. I'm happy to start my future with my daughter and move forward."

Jenkins and Hernandez have a 2-year-old daughter together.

When asked if she and Hernandez were still together, Jenkins said, "Eh" and grabbed her large diamond engagement ring and twisted it. She quickly cut questioning short and walked away, not answering when asked if she has spoken with Hernandez.

Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last month in Lloyd's killing.

In papers filed this week, Hernandez's lawyers asked that his convicting be thrown out, arguing that "no rational jury" could have found his guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors have 30 days to respond.

Jenkins' lawyer, Janice Bassil, said outside court Friday that the perjury charges against her should never have been brought.

"She made an honest mistake," Bassil said of Jenkins.

Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said prosecutors disagreed with the contention that the charges never should have been brought. He said the office moved to drop the charges because she later cooperated more fully at Hernandez's trial.

"As a result of her more truthful testimony at trial, we could not in good faith continue the prosecution in this case," he said.

Bassil has said Jenkins was bombarded with 1,630 questions over two days before a grand jury and didn't willfully lie.

Prosecutors had said Jenkins repeatedly lied in testimony, including about getting rid of a box from the basement of her and Hernandez's North Attleborough home at his request. They say Jenkins told grand jurors she couldn't recall where she threw out the box, which she put in a trash bag along with baby clothes.

Prosecutors have said the box may have contained crucial evidence, even the weapon used to kill Lloyd, which was never found.