By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI, Associated Press
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) _ A Massachusetts judge on Thursday set bail at $15,0 cash with conditions for a cousin of Aaron Hernandez who faces two charges in connection with the murder case against the former New England Patriots tight end.
Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley argued in Fall River Superior Court for $100,000 cash bail for Tanya Singleton, who has pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt and conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact.
Prosecutors allege she helped Hernandez’s “right-hand man” Ernest Wallace travel to Florida after the killing in June of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.
McCauley also alleged Thursday, for the first time, that Singleton discussed helping Hernandez associate Carlos Ortiz flee to Puerto Rico after the killing and disposed of a cellphone wanted by investigators that Wallace had used but that was subscribed in her name.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in Lloyd’s death. Wallace and Ortiz have pleaded not guilty to accessory to murder after the fact.
McCauley also said Singleton thwarted the investigation by refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in the case despite being granted immunity. She was at first held in civil contempt by a judge before a grand jury indicted her.
Defense attorney E. Peter Parker said outside court that Singleton would not post bail Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she would do so later.
In arguing that Singleton be released on personal recognizance, Parker noted she did not have a criminal record and had appeared before the grand jury when summoned. He said she had been put in an “extremely difficult situation,” being asked to testify in the case of a family member, and chose not to.
Parker questioned the strength of prosecutors’ case, saying they would have to prove that any assistance she provided Wallace and Ortiz helped Hernandez, the principal defendant in the case. Parker said there’s also no evidence she knew of any crime.
Ortiz told authorities he discussed Lloyd’s killing with Singleton, according to court records. But Ortiz was not called to testify before the grand jury. He has once changed his story about what he saw on the night of the killing, according to prosecutors.
After hearing arguments, Judge Susan Garsh set bail at $15,000 cash and imposed several conditions, including that Singleton be monitored by GPS, reside in Bristol County, Mass., and report in person to a probation office twice a week.
Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter, said after the hearing that prosecutors were “not displeased” with the bail, which had what he called very stringent conditions.
Singleton lives in Bristol, Conn., Hernandez’s hometown, and has two children, ages 7 and 4, according to Parker.
Hernandez’s girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, has also been charged in the case. She pleaded not guilty this month to perjury. Prosecutors allege she lied to the grand jury, including about disposing of evidence at Hernandez’s request.
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