The verdict watch continues in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial. After the jury hit the 26-hour mark on Wednesday and asked to be excused for the day, all eyes turned to the former New England Patriots tight end who was spotted blowing kisses to his 4-year-old daughter, Avielle.
Hernandez’s fiancee, who, per the Hartford Courant, legally changed her name to Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez in August 2015, brought the couple’s daughter to the courtroom shortly before the jury returned to the courtroom to speak with Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke.
Fox Boston reporter Ted Daniel was one of the first to tweet a photo of Aaron Hernandez’s daughter, Avielle, who was sitting patiently in her mother’s lap. Daniel noted that Hernandez was seated with his legal team and turned and smiled at his daughter several times before court was adjourned.
Moments later, Aaron Hernandez made his way out of the courtroom but not before he waved and blew kisses to his daughter, with WHDH reporter Byron Barnett sharing on Twitter, “Big smile from Aaron Hernandez when he sees his daughter. Blows her a kiss. Brings a big smile to Avielle’s face.”
Hernandez’s interaction with his daughter, who was 2 and a half years old when her father was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, quickly became a topic of conversation for trial watchers.
Many expressed their opinions on Twitter, questioning whether or not the child should have been in court with her mother, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez.
Reporter Ted Daniel confirmed that Shayanna gave her permission to share photos of her daughter, Avielle, on social media. But that didn’t stop a steady flow of tweets from people who didn’t approve of Shayanna’s decision to bring her daughter to court.
“I saw the little girl and thought, how does her mother explain to her Daddy’s not coming home and he can’t hold her,” Lisa Davis (@lisadavisjour) tweeted in reply to the photo of Avielle Hernandez.
“Shayanna has ZERO brains for pulling this move – she is not a good mom,” tweeted another Twitter user, @maga4peae.
Although there were dozens of negative tweets about Shayanna and her decision to bring her daughter, Avielle, into the courtroom, there were just as many supportive tweets.
“People will use anything to try to villainize Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez,” Krystal Bradsher (@Staring_Krystal) tweeted. “Even a child’s innocent desire to see her father.”
Roseanne Garcia (@roseanngar21) tweeted, “That’s not fair for her. They are all judging her for bringing her to see dad..no matter where! He is still her daddy and she loves him!”
Aaron Hernandez, who is serving a life sentence at the Sousa Baronowski prison in Sharon, Massachusetts, for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, will return to court on Thursday morning.
Whether the jury will come to a decision on Thursday is unknown, but Boston Herald columnist Bob McGovern questioned whether the judge will implement the “dynamite charge” to help move things along. He then shared a link to the Legal Information Institute for an explanation of the term.
“An instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict.”
According to CBS Boston, Hernandez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
In addition, the former NFL star is charged with three counts of armed assault with intent to murder for allegedly shooting at three men who survived the shooting, and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. There are also charges for witness intimidation (one count) and unlawful possession of a firearm (one count).
Follow the hashtag #AaronHernandez on Twitter for the latest information on the pending verdict in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial.
[Featured Image by Keith Bedford /The Boston Globe/AP Images]