During part two of Oxygen’s documentary special “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” Shayanna Jenkins opened up about what it was like visiting fiancé Aaron Hernandez in jail.
In 2013, the former New England Patriots tight end was charged in connection with the shooting death of semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd, whose body had been found in an industrial park a half-mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home. At arraignment, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and was ordered to be held without bail, meaning the disgraced NFL star had to await his trial behind bars.
Jenkins described her visits with daughter Avielle in piercing detail: “The hardest thing about the entire experience was, I didn’t get to touch him, not even hold his hand. He didn’t get to hold our daughter until she was so much older.”
Jenkins continued, saying, "It was terrible. I mean, it's a dirty place, [and] people aren't always pleasant."
In a 2015 interview with “Dr. Phil,” Jenkins shared that Avielle, now 5, visited her father twice a week, but had “no idea” he was incarcerated.
“I won't tell her until she decides to ask or if she asks," Jenkins said. "She thought daddy was at work. That's how we kept it. She knows nothing about jail, prison or any of that stuff. I try to keep her in a whole positive direction."
During their later visits, Jenkins said Avielle would sit on Hernandez’s lap and play cards and color with him.
"I wouldn't say it was normal, it was her normal, so she knew no different," Jenkins told “Dr. Phil.” "As far as their interaction, it was unbelievable. She was very much a daddy's girl."
To hear more about the case and Hernandez’s relationship with Jenkins, watch “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered” on Oxygen.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.