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Aaron Hernandez cousin to plead guilty to contempt

By: The Associated Press
July 14, 2014 Updated: July 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm
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FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The cousin of Aaron Hernandez who was charged with criminal contempt after refusing to testify before the grand jury that indicted the former New England Patriot intends to change her plea to guilty, her lawyer said Monday.

Tanya Singleton, of Bristol, Connecticut, had pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say she was granted immunity but declined to testify.

E. Peter Parker, her lawyer, said during a brief proceeding in Fall River Superior Court that she will change her plea at the trial scheduled for Aug. 12.

Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. The ex-NFL tight end has also pleaded not guilty, in a separate case, to the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012.

Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter, said sentencing for criminal contempt is at the judge's discretion. He would not comment on what the prosecutors will recommend.

Singleton pleaded not guilty to a contempt charge in connection with the Boston case after refusing to testify before a Suffolk County grand jury. Parker is seeking to consolidate the contempt cases in Fall River and said Monday that his client intends to plead guilty in the Boston case, too.

"Ms. Singleton chose family over civic duty. That is not an incomprehensible or indefensible choice," Parker wrote in a court filing Monday requesting the consolidation.

Singleton also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact in the Lloyd case. She isn't changing her not guilty plea in that case, Parker said.

Prosecutors allege Singleton helped Hernandez's "right-hand man" Ernest Wallace travel to Florida after Lloyd was killed. They also say she discussed helping Carlos Ortiz, another Hernandez associate, flee to Puerto Rico and got rid of a cellphone that Wallace had used.

Wallace and Ortiz have both pleaded not guilty to murder and accessory charges.

Singleton, who has been undergoing medical treatments for breast cancer in Connecticut, was not in Fall River for Monday's hearing. She is out on bail.

Also Monday, the judge hearing the Lloyd case rejected a bid by Hernandez's lawyers to suppress evidence from a cellphone and video surveillance taken from his Massachusetts home during authorities' investigation. She hasn't yet ruled on a request to suppress evidence from other cellphones and three iPads seized from the house in North Attleborough.

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