Tanya Singleton won’t be going back to jail.
The cousin of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. She pleaded guilty to criminal contempt for failing to cooperate even though she had been granted immunity from potential prosecution.
Due to a cancer diagnosis, she’ll spend a year on house arrest and another year on probation.
“Miss Singleton’s willful conduct constitutes an assault on the rule of law and the effective administration of criminal justice,” Judge Susan Garsh said, via the Boston Globe. “Miss Singleton’s health is the only reason she is not being placed in jail.”
Prosecutors accused Singelton, who already spent 196 days behind bars while the Lloyd grand jury was in session, of having a “perverted her sense of loyalty” and an “utter disdain” for the legal process, via the Associated Press. Prosecutor William McCauley said that Singleton put Hernandez above her own children, who were four and seven at the time she was initially jailed.
Judge Garsh denied a request from the mother of Odin Lloyd to make an impact statement during the hearing, concluding that Ursula Ward was not a direct victim of the crime. Ward spoke to reporters after the hearing.
“What would you do or say to help the other family heal with the truth?” Ward said. “My baby was my only son, my first born My baby’s gone without me saying goodbye.”
That makes Lloyd’s family a direct victim of Singleton’s affront on the justice system. Singleton knows something about what happened to Lloyd, and Singleton has refused to share information that could help Ward and the rest of Lloyd’s family obtain closure. It also strongly suggests that the information would implicate, not exonerate, her cousin.
If Hernandez had any loyalty to Singleton, he would have insisted both privately and publicly that she tell the truth, without fear of the potential consequences. Instead, he has allowed her to suffer behind bars and to spend what may be the final months of her life confined to her home.
While it’s still not proven that Hernandez killed anyone, what he has done to Singleton by not unequivocally and unconditionally giving her blanket permission to cooperate with the justice system is criminal in the moral sense. Especially since there’s a chance her silence doesn’t come from a “perverted sense of loyalty” but from a very rational fear of retaliation.