By JENNY WILSON And DAVE ALTIMARI, email@example.com
The Hartford Courant
11:28 AM EDT, September 18, 2013
A cousin of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez agreed Tuesday to testify before a Massachusetts grand jury investigating the June 17 death of Odin Lloyd for which Hernandez has been charged with murder.
Jennifer "Gina" Valderrama Mercado of Bristol is the sister of Tanya Cummings-Singleton, who was indicted for criminal contempt last month after she refused to testify before the same grand jury.
While authorities have said in court documents they believe Cummings-Singleton made "overt attempts...to hinder and mislead the investigation," they have disclosed nothing about their interest in Mercado. The file in her case was sealed.
Mercado appeared in Superior Court Tuesday without an attorney and left without comment. She agreed to appear before the grand jury on Sept. 23.
Cummings-Singleton lives at 114 Lake Ave., the Bristol home owned by Hernandez's uncle where police have conducted multiple searches since the onset of the investigation. Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, the two other suspects in the case, used the house as an address. Wallace is scheduled to be arraigned in the case Thursday.
Police, during an earlier search of the Lake Avenue house, found a car that matched the description of the vehicle authorities sought in a July 2012 double homicide in Boston. The car was rented in Hernandez's name and had been parked in the garage for about a year. Authorities also obtained surveillance footage that shows the former tight end at the same nightclub as the victims hours before the drive-by shooting. A different grand jury in Suffolk County Mass. is investigating his role in that case.
Hernandez, a Bristol native released by the Patriots after his arrest, has been held without bail since his June 26 murder arrest, and is next scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. for an Oct. 9 hearing.
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