BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Two friends of Aaron Hernandez were hanging out at the blue Cape-style house in Bristol when the NFL star beckoned them for an outing that ended with another friend’s slaying, authorities said. Days later, police searching the small home found an SUV, rented in Hernandez’s name, that Massachusetts authorities were seeking in connection with a July 2012 shooting that killed two people near a Boston night club.
As investigators work to unravel both murder cases, the house at 114 Lake Ave. appears to hold answers about the other side of the man once known to the public only as a talented tight end for the high-powered New England Patriots offense. Hernandez himself never lived at the house, which belongs to his uncle, but it was home to many people close to him who have since come under intense police scrutiny.
“It seems like people came and went at different times,” said Lt. Kevin Morrell, the head of the Bristol Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division. “We have Mr. Hernandez as a frequent guest. He would spend a night, but we don’t have him ever living there.”
Hernandez, who grew up not far from the house in Bristol, is charged with murder in the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, whose body was found June 17 not far from Hernandez’s mansion in North Attleborough, Mass. He has pleaded not guilty.
Ernest Wallace, one of two friends also facing charges related to the shooting, had been living at the Lake Avenue house, and the other, Carlos Ortiz, had spent time living there, according to police. The men, who each had criminal records, returned to the house after Lloyd was killed, according to court filings.
Ortiz and Wallace, police say, apparently were part of a group of friends that included Hernandez’s cousin Tanya Singleton and her husband, Thaddeus Singleton III, a man known to police as T.L.
Thaddeus Singleton died June 30 when the car he was driving went off a road in Farmington, went airborne and become lodged inside a country club building. Police have ruled the death accidental. He was in the car with the mother of one of his children, police said.
At the time of his death, Singleton was facing charges stemming from a February arrest in Clarendon County, S.C., that included heroin trafficking.
“He was very well known to us,” Morrell said. “He has a lengthy record for all kinds of things, including drugs. He was a suspected dealer.”
But up until the start of the Hernandez investigation, Morrell said police had been to the house on Lake Avenue only once before, in 2010 for a medical call the night Hernandez’s aunt died.
The house belongs to Tanya Singleton’s father, Andres “Tito” Valderamma, Hernandez’s uncle by marriage. His late wife, Ruth, was the sister of Hernandez’s father, Dennis. Valderamma lives in the home with Tanya, another daughter, Jennifer “Gina” Thebarge, and their families.
Lately, Tanya Singleton has been staying in a Massachusetts jail. She was indicted on a criminal contempt charge after prosecutors say she refused to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in the case that led to a murder indictment against Hernandez. Prosecutors said she refused to testify even after prosecutors offered her immunity.
Tanya Singleton was previously married to Jeffrey Cummings, another Bristol resident with a lengthy criminal record, who divorced her and later married Hernandez’s mother, Terri. He was later charged with assaulting Terri Hernandez, who subsequently divorced him.
It’s unclear what Tanya Singleton’s relationship is with Ortiz and Wallace. But during his bail hearing in Attleboro District Court in July, Wallace mouthed “I love you” and “I miss you,” apparently to Singleton, who was watching the proceeding.
In searching the Lake Avenue home, police turned up 100 cartridges of .38-caliber ammunition, as well as the SUV sought in the 2012 shooting, in which Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado were killed in Boston’s South End.
Another relative of Thaddeus Singleton III, John Alcorn, testified last week before a grand jury in Boston’s Suffolk County. Alcorn, whose nickname is “Chicago,” is the man mentioned in a Massachusetts police report in June as the possible owner of a .38-caliber gun seized from a car after an accident in Springfield, Mass., Morrell said.
Tito Valderamma and Gina Thebarge have not spoken publicly about the case. Gina said when she answered the door at the home earlier this month that the family was “not ready to do that yet.”
“But thank you for asking nicely,” she said. “And God bless you.”
Associated Press writer Erika Niedowski in Attleboro, Mass., contributed to this report.