FALL RIVER — A cousin of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez got rid of a cellphone tied to a murder that the athlete is accused of committing, and she also discussed helping one of his associates flee to Puerto Rico, a prosecutor said Thursday.
William McCauley, a Bristol prosecutor, leveled the allegations against Tanya Singleton, 37, when he argued during a Superior Court hearing that she should be held on $100,000 bail on conspiracy and contempt charges stemming from the June 17 slaying.
Judge E. Susan Garsh instead ordered that Singleton, of Bristol, Conn., be held on a combined $15,000 bail.
If she posts that amount, Singleton must live in the Massachusetts county while her case is pending, submit to GPS monitoring, have no contact with material witnesses or potential witnesses besides her codefendants and relatives, and check in regularly with probation.
Authorities say Hernandez, 23, and two associates, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up the murder victim, Odin Lloyd, 27, at Lloyd’s Dorchester residence in the predawn hours of June 17 and drove him to an industrial yard near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.
Lloyd was shot multiple times in an execution-style slaying, prosecutors say.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges and is being held without bail. Ortiz, 27, and Wallace, 41, have pleaded not guilty to accessory charges and are each being held on $500,000 bail.
On Thursday, Singleton wore brown jail garb and sat with her hands clasped as McCauley accused her of talking with Ortiz about helping him flee to Puerto Rico. Ortiz never traveled there and was arrested in Connecticut several days after the killing.
Singleton’s lawyer, E. Peter Parker, said during the hearing and outside court that prosecutors have not provided him with any evidence regarding the alleged Puerto Rico plan or the disposal of a cellphone. Parker said he is still waiting for some grand jury minutes.
Prosecutors contend that the missing phone was of interest to investigators and that Singleton maintained it for Wallace, who authorities have described as Hernandez’s “right-hand man.”
McCauley reiterated in court that Singleton helped Wallace travel to Florida after the killing and that she was present for conversations that led to the “unplanned, sort of spontaneous” trip.
Parker said “there’s no evidence that [Singleton] was told anything” about Wallace and Ortiz’s alleged involvement in a crime during the time in question.
Singleton has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact of Lloyd’s slaying. She also faces a contempt charge for refusing over the summer to testify before a grand jury hearing evidence in the case.
McCauley said Thursday that Singleton first invoked her right against self-incrimination when she appeared before the panel and later refused to testify after being immunized.
Parker said prosecutors put Singleton in an “extremely difficult” position by pressuring her to testify against a loved one. He also noted that authorities secured indictments against Ortiz, Wallace, and Hernandez without her testimony.
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancee and the mother of his infant daughter, has pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge and remains free on personal recognizance.
Parker told reporters that Singleton would not be released Thursday and declined to say when or if she would post bail.
Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for Bristol 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.”Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.