We at Here and Sphere aren’t fixated on crime, and we don’t find the doings of sports stars red-letter news. Still, the saga of Aaron Hernandez, until recently one of the New England Patriots‘ major players, commands our attention. Last August he signed a $ 40,000,000 contract with the Patriots — $ 26 million of it guaranteed. Yet now, accused not just of one murder but of three, in two incidents separated by almost a year, Hernandez looks, from the evidence so far released by the police and District attorney in Bristol County, in a huge peck of trouble. If anybody gets that $ 26 million, it’ll be his lawyers.

His eventual prosecution and trial is a matter for the law and courts; and when the trial begins, Here and Sphere will definitely report from it. For now, all we want to do is ask some questions. Questions that arise from the various police narratives already put into the news. These questions do not convict him; they only ask.

These are puzzling questions that defy glib answers :

1. How does a man who plays a violent, utterly demanding sport for a coach who brooks no insubordination of any kind become someone who kills people if they make him “unhappy’ with them ?

2. If he decided to kill Odin Lloyd — his likely future brother in law — because he was “unhappy’ that Lloyd had spoken to people that he, Hernandez, “had troubles with,” what was it that Lloyd and the other men talked about that called for a killing ?

3. They were at a noisy club that we know well : Rumor, in downtown Boston. How did Hernandez hear what Lloyd was supposed to have said ?

4. If Hernandez felt, about Lloyd talking to those men, that now “he couldn’t trust anyone any more,” how come he asked two men to come up to Massachusetts, to accompany him when he went to pick up Lloyd for a talk ? Evidently he DID trust at least SOMEONE still…

5. If, as is now asserted, he is the main suspect in a shooting of two men last July — while they were stopped at a stop light after leaving a bar (Cure, another that we know well) where they had gotten into a fight with a group that included Hernandez — why did the silver SUV with Rhode Island license plates, that was seen pulling alongside the two men who got shot, not get dumped somewhere, instead of being found yesterday, in Hernandez’s home city of Bristol, CT, no less ?

6. Why, with Odin Lloyd in the car with three other men, was Lloyd able to text to his sister that he was “with NFL” and, shortly after, “Just so you know” ? According to the timeline, those texts went out a bare seven minutes before Hernandez was seen, on his home’s surveillance camera, returning with a gun in plain view. No one thought to not let Lloyd use his cell phone during that obviously not a fun drive ?

7. The above suggests that the shooting of Lloyd was an unexpected, impulse act; that the drive was intended only to be a frank talk. But if that was so, why did Hernandez need to have two guys along with him ? Were they to be just talkers ?

8. He rents the drive-car in his own name, gets seen on surveillance cameras everywhere, is accompanied on the drive by two guys who will surely rush to testify against him to save themselves; buys bubble gum and, next morning, upon returning the rental car, hands some of it to the rental agency gal – gum that is also found in the rental car along with a shell casing from a .45; shoots two guys from a car that can be traced and now has been : did he think that being the Great Aaron Hernandez, $ 40 million sports star, that no one would ever suspect him of being a  stone killer easy to anger ? To this question, the answer must be “yes.” It had worked until the killing of Lloyd.

9. Lastly : how could he do all this, putting his fiancee and child at total risk ? Ms Jenkins was photographed at Court totally crying. Her life will never be the same (though at least she is alive). And what of her sister, who was dating Odin Lloyd ? What does she do ? Are women, in that world, just collateral damage ?

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere