A cousin of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty Monday to a criminal contempt of court charge.
Tanya Singleton, 38, appeared at the Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts after refusing to testify before a grand jury, despite being granted immunity, in the investigation of Hernandez's alleged role in a 2012 double slaying in Boston's South End.
Singleton had "relative and material information" about the investigation, including the SUV that was allegedly used in the drive-by shooting of Daniel de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, prosecutor Pat Haggan said. Investigators found the SUV at her home in Bristol, Connecticut, covered in dust and cobwebs, authorities said.
The victims' families have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the former tight end seeking $6 million each. The two men, who did not know Hernandez before that night, were gunned down in their car after leaving a nightclub. A third man was wounded in that attack.
Hernandez, 24, was charged last week in the double homicide, which happened shortly before he signed a five-year, $40-million US contract and went on to catch 51 passes and score five touchdowns during the 2012 NFL season.
He also faces murder charges in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was killed in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, in June 2013. Two of his associates, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, also have been indicted on murder charges in that case. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Singleton's lawyer, E. Peter Parker, would not comment Monday outside court. He previously called her prosecution "aggressive and unnecessary."
A judge ordered her confined to her home with GPS tracking and required her to make weekly phone calls to her probation officer. Singleton, who is being treated for breast cancer, is allowed to go to medical appointments.
She is due back in court on July 15 for a pretrial hearing.