A cousin of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez disposed of a cellphone tied to the murder allegedly committed by Hernandez and also discussed helping one of his associates flee to Puerto Rico, a prosecutor said today.
William McCauley, a Bristol County prosecutor, leveled those allegations against Tanya Singleton, 37, when he argued during a hearing that she should be held on $100,000 bail on charges of contempt and conspiracy in the June 17 slaying of Odin Lloyd.
Judge E. Susan Garsh instead ordered that Singleton be held on a combined $15,000 bail, with conditions, if she makes bail, that she live in Bristol County while her case is pending, submit to GPS monitoring, and have no contact with material witnesses or possible witnesses except her co-defendants and relatives.
McCauley said that after the fatal shooting of Lloyd, Singleton discussed helping Carlos Ortiz, an alleged accomplice of Hernandez, to flee to Puerto Rico.
She also helped another accused accomplice, Ernest Wallace, flee to Florida, McCauley said, and got rid of a cellphone that she maintained for him that was of interest to investigators.
McCauley added that Singleton initially pleaded the Fifth Amendment when she appeared before a Bristol grand jury hearing evidence in the case, and then refused to testify after being immunized during a second appearance, prompting the contempt charge.
He said she has displayed a “consistent refusal” to cooperate during the investigation.
Singleton’s lawyer, E. Peter Parker, countered that he has not seen evidence suggesting she knew about Wallace’s and Ortiz’s alleged involvement in the murder during interactions with them afterward.
“I’m not sure that helping people travel ... amounts to a violation of the accessory after the fact statute,” he said, adding that he has seen no evidence about the alleged Puerto Rico plan or the phone allegation. Parker said he is still waiting for some grand jury minutes.
Singleton faces a charge of contempt and conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact of a slaying.
Regarding the contempt charge, Parker said Singleton was placed in the “extremely difficult” position of being pressured to give evidence against a loved one.
And, he said, authorities did not need her testimony, since they were able to indict Ortiz, Wallace, and Hernandez without it.
“Ms. Singleton made a choice” not to testify, Parker said. “I don’t know if it’s a choice that other people wouldn’t have made under similar circumstances.”
Hernandez, 23, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the fatal shooting of Lloyd and is being held without bail.
Ortiz and Wallace have pleaded not guilty to accessory charges and are both being held on $500,000 bail.
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancee and the mother of his infant daughter, has pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge and is free on personal recognizance.
Parker said in court today that Singleton is receiving outpatient chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer and is most comfortable receiving them at a Connecticut hospital.
Singleton wore brown jail garb and sat at the defense table with her hands folded together. She closed her eyes at one point during the hearing.
Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, and other relatives also attended the hearing but did not speak to reporters afterward.
Parker was pursued by the press as he walked to his car and said Singleton would not be released today.
He answered “yes” when a reporter asked if she was happy about being released, but he did not indicate when, or if, bail would be posted.
A spokesman for District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter said, “The bail is set in a high amount and the conditions are very stringent, so we’re not displeased.”