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Aaron Hernandez cousin granted immunity to testify

Jennifer Mercado (left) hugged her cousin Tanya Singleton.
Jennifer Mercado (left) hugged her cousin Tanya Singleton.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Two days before jury selection is scheduled to begin, a cousin of Aaron Hernandez was granted immunity to testify in the first-degree murder trial of the former New England Patriots star.

Bristol Superior Court assistant clerk Mark Ferriera said Wednesday that Judge E. Susan Garsh approved Bristol prosecutors’ petition for immunity for Jennifer Mercado.

Mercado is the sister of Tanya Singleton, who is also charged in connection with Hernandez’s case. Hernandez is charged in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd in 2013. It is unclear what information Mercado would relay if she is called to the stand.

Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, was also seen leaving a closed-court hearing in the Fall River Justice Center Wednesday. Ferriera said a second immunity hearing was held but declined to say for whom.

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Jenkins has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury investigating the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old semiprofessional football player. Jenkins was at Hernandez’s North Attleborough home the night that Lloyd was killed. Her sister was dating Lloyd at the time he was killed.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. Authorities say Lloyd was shot to death in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home.


Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.