A cousin, an associate and the fiancee of Aaron Hernandez became the latest people charged in the former New England Patriot's murder case, which has drawn in several Connecticut residents whom authorities suspect were involved in, or had knowledge of, Odin Lloyd's death.
The indictments the Bristol County, Mass., district attorney's office announced Friday double the number of individuals from two to four who face murder-related charges in connection with the shooting, though the former Patriots tight end is the only person charged with murder. His cousin and the two men who were in the car with him and the victim on June 17 are accused of aiding Hernandez in concealing evidence related to Lloyd's death.
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's fiancee, who for several months has been of interest to investigators, was indicted on a perjury charge. Authorities say she lied in her testimony before the grand jury. Lloyd was the boyfriend of Jenkins' sister.
Hernandez's cousin Tanya Singleton was charged with conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact. Authorities say she drove Ernest Wallace, a suspect in the case, to Georgia days after the shooting, having knowledge of the shooting. She also faces a criminal contempt charge after she refused to testify before the grand jury.
Carlos Ortiz, a suspect in the case and key witness for the government, now faces a murder-related charge. The grand jury returned a single-count indictment for accessory after the fact to murder. Ortiz was not indicted for the illegal firearms charge he previously faced.
Before his arrest in late June, Ortiz gave investigators a detailed account of the events leading to and following Lloyd's death. Prosecutors Thursday said he since has changed his story. He still denies seeing the shooting.
Initially, Ortiz said that Wallace and Hernandez both got out of the car with Lloyd minutes before his death. He since has revised his story to say that Hernandez was alone with the victim, and a defense lawyer Thursday signaled his strategy may be to question the credibility of Ortiz as a witness.
Court documents show that investigators found a white towel at the crime scene; Ortiz was shown on surveillance footage wearing a white towel earlier in the night, before the men picked up the victim at his home in Boston.
The day after Lloyd's shooting, Ortiz told investigators, he accompanied Hernandez and Wallace when they exchanged the Nissan Altima used the night of the shooting for a different vehicle. Ortiz and Wallace then drove the new car, a Chrysler 300, back to Connecticut, where Ortiz was dropped off at 114 Lake Ave., a Bristol home owned by Hernandez's uncle where Tanya Singleton lived with her husband, Thaddeus Singleton, now deceased.
Both Wallace and Ortiz used the Lake Avenue house as an address. Wallace, a prosecutor said Thursday, sold drugs with Thaddeus Singleton, who was killed in a late June car crash. The two men had a close relationship.
Authorities say that in the days after Lloyd's death, Wallace abandoned the Chrysler 300 in Bristol and drove with Tanya Singleton and relatives of her husband to a Singleton family home in Georgia. Singleton then returned to Bristol, after she bought a bus ticket for Wallace to travel from Macon, Ga., to Miami.
After her cousin's arrest and her husband's death, Singleton began spending time at the North Attleborough home Hernandez shared with Jenkins.
Investigators previously have said they believe both women attempted to hinder and mislead the investigation, and have suggested that Jenkins may know what happened to the weapon used to kill Lloyd, which is still missing.
Authorities cite communications she had with her fiance the day after Lloyd's body was found and surveillance footage from the North Attleborough home that shows her carrying a rigid object in a trash bag out of the house, and returning 35 minutes later without the object.
Hernandez, who also faces five illegal firearms charges, was seen on surveillance footage carrying a .45-caliber Glock pistol into his home minutes after leaving a nearby industrial park in the early hours of June 17. Lloyd's body was found in that industrial park. Prosecutors believe the gun Hernandez is shown carrying is the murder weapon.
The former tight end has been held without bail since his June 26 arrest, and is scheduled to appear in Fall River Superior Court Oct. 9. He has maintained his innocence.