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Cousin of Aaron Hernandez should not be jailed, her lawyer says, arguing she is dying from cancer

Tanya Singleton, cousin of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, faces a contempt charge in Hernandez’s murder case.

Dominick Reuter/Boston Herald/Associated Press

Tanya Singleton, cousin of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, faces a contempt charge in Hernandez’s murder case.

A cousin of Aaron Hernandez should be spared more jail time for a contempt violation, her lawyer said, arguing that incarceration “likely would hasten her death” as she battles cancer.

In papers filed in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River on Tuesday, the lawyer for Tanya Singleton, 38, requested a one-year sentence, with credit for 196 days that she served before being freed on bail last winter. The attorney, E. Peter Parker, asked that the remainder of the sentence be suspended for a year while she remains on home confinement in Bristol, Conn.

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Singleton has pleaded not guilty to the contempt charge, but plans to change her plea during a hearing Tuesday.

Parker wrote that Singleton suffers from cancer that “will lead to her death,” and said that she was in remission before she was jailed but the disease has since spread.

He added that her “best chance to maximize the time she has left . . . would be to maintain a complex and increasingly aggressive treatment regimen implemented” by her doctor. “That cannot happen if she is incarcerated again.”

Singleton’s contempt charge stems from her refusal to testify before a Bristol grand jury hearing evidence in a June 2013 slaying that Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star, allegedly committed with two accomplices.

On Tuesday, Parker defended Singleton’s decision not to testify, writing that she loves Hernandez like a son.

“Her decision not to testify came from her heart,” Parker wrote.

A spokesman for the Bristol district attorney’s office declined to comment.

In a ruling Wednesday, Judge E. Susan Garsh said prosecutors must show that Singleton can receive adequate medical care in jail if they plan to seek incarceration.

Singleton also faces a conspiracy charge for alleged actions including helping one of Hernandez’s co-defendants flee to Florida, as well as a contempt count in Suffolk County for refusing to testify before a grand jury there.

That panel was hearing evidence in a 2012 double murder that Hernandez is also charged with.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.
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