FALL RIVER, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez matter-of-factly told witnesses that his endorsement days were over, according to testimony Wednesday from his fiancée’s uncle, who said the conversation happened a day after a slaying Hernandez would eventually be charged in.
Azia Jenkins was called to the stand in Hernandez’s murder trial by prosecutor William McCauley, who asked him what happened June 18, 2013.
Odin Lloyd’s body had been found the day before in an industrial park not far from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro. Lloyd had been dating Shaneah Jenkins, the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna.
Azia Jenkins testified that Shayanna had called him that morning asking him to come from Connecticut to pick up another uncle, Donnie Smith. Smith and Shaneah Jenkins had gone to Hernandez’s home that morning after Shaneah had been told by police that Lloyd was dead.
Azia Jenkins said he had arrived at the Hernandez home that afternoon and was preparing to leave when police arrived and spoke with him in the driveway. He said he went to the police station, then returned to the Hernandez home.
Upon his return, he said, Hernandez wanted to know what police had asked him.
After a brief conversation, Jenkins, Hernandez and Smith went to the basement to play pool and watch Game 6 of the NBA Finals. A commercial came on, Jenkins said.
“Aaron said, ‘My endorsements are gone,'” Azia Jenkins testified.
Jenkins said that Hernandez didn’t elaborate and that he appeared “cool, calm, collected.”
At the time of the slaying, Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots and an endorsement deal with CytoSport, the company that makes Muscle Milk. He also had a two-year contract with the sportswear company Puma.
He was arrested in Lloyd’s murder June 26 and cut by the Patriots soon after.
Also Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Sudan Garsh ruled that prosecutors may not call to the stand Hernandez’s high school friend Robert Paradis.
Paradis testified when the jury was out of the courtroom that he had visited Hernandez in April 2013 at his condo in Los Angeles. He said Hernandez told him he kept “fire” or “heat” under the seat of his car and indicated it was a .45-caliber weapon, the same as the murder weapon, which has never been found.
Paradis said that after Hernandez left the condo, Hernandez called back to ask him to check whether he had left “it” in his bedroom. Paradis opened a drawer, saw a black shirt wrapped around an object and lifted it up but never opened it. He said it felt like a gun.
The judge said Paradis’ statements were inconsistent and would be prejudicial.
Thumbnail photo via Ted Fitzgerald/Associated Press
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