Hernandez cousin gets probation in contempt case, judge cites illness in sparing her prison

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BOSTON — A cousin of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation after pleading guilty to contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury that indicted Hernandez in the 2012 killings of two Boston men.

Tanya Singleton, of Bristol, Connecticut, changed her plea to guilty during a hearing in Boston. Singleton has been battling a recurrence of breast cancer, which her lawyer says is incurable and cannot be adequately treated if she is in jail.

Attorney E. Peter Parker had asked the judge to spare her jail time and instead sentence her to two years of probation with a year of home confinement. That was the same sentence she received in Bristol County last month when she pleaded guilty to a separate contempt charge for refusing to testify before the grand jury that indicted Hernandez in the 2013 shooting death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

"Ms. Singleton's best chance to maximize the time she has left with some semblance of quality of life would be to maintain a complex and increasingly aggressive treatment regimen implemented by the Connecticut physician who has been treating her since her original cancer diagnosis three years ago," Parker wrote in a sentencing memo.

Parker said Singleton, who is 17 years older than Hernandez, "loves him as if he were her own son." He said she "chose family" when she was subpoenaed to testify before the grand juries investigating her cousin.

Prosecutors had sought 2½ years in jail for Singleton. District Attorney Daniel Conley said she "made a deliberate choice to stymie a double homicide investigation."

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after one of the men accidentally spilled a drink on him at a Boston nightclub. He also has pleaded not guilty to murder in Lloyd's killing. The body of Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, was found near Hernandez's North Attleboro home.

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