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Hernandez questions we're all asking

Image: Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (© Michael DeHoog / Getty Images)
If convicted, Aaron Hernandez could get life in prison without parole.
FOX Sports Andre Vergara
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You've heard all the shocking details of Aaron Hernandez's arrest on a first-degree murder charge, and the case against him.

And now, on Friday, there's been a third arrest made in the investigation.

If you're like us, you have questions. You need answers.

Here are the Hernandez case questions we're all asking.

What’s really behind the killing of Odin Lloyd?

So far we’ve been told by prosecutors that Hernandez plotted the execution of an associate for talking to the wrong people at a club. As Jason Whitlock writes, “There’s got to be a stronger motive."

Now we've learned that Hernandez is being investigated as a possible suspect in the 2012 drive-by shooting deaths of two men in Boston, which reportedly followed an altercation involving Hernandez at a nightclub. Police believe Lloyd may have been killed because he knew Hernandez was involved in the double-murder, the reports say.

Three murders over a nightclub dispute? A killing spree by a multimillionaire? If true, he's trying to cover up either one incredibly reckless crime with another, or something bigger — likely involving more people and most definitely illegal.

RISE AND FALL

How did Aaron Hernandez go from a Patriots star to a defendant in a murder case? We track his career over the years.

Whitlock writes, "In my opinion, drugs have to be involved in this story some way.”

Evidence seems to point to some kind of shady dealings: cars rented in Hernandez’s name, one of which the victim had keys to; Hernandez allegedly saying he “couldn't trust anyone anymore”; Lloyd referring to Hernandez with a code name (“NFL”) in his text message before he died.

Maybe most importantly, Hernandez had accomplices, according to the cops. His friends took penitentiary chances — with a pretty brainless plan, to hear the prosecution describe it — so you've got to wonder why. Simply loyalty? Or were they all potentially indictable for some illegal business?

Where are the alleged accomplices?

One of them is in custody. Police announced that Carlos Ortiz, 27, has been arrested in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., as part of the murder probe. Police have now arrested a third man: Ernest Wallace, 41. He was captured early Friday afternoon in Miramar, Fla.

Is Hernandez really that stupid?

According to the prosecution...

He killed an associate and dumped the body a half-mile from his home. Was caught on surveillance driving there in the rental car in his name. Allowed Lloyd to text his sister and reveal he’s with Hernandez minutes before he was killed. Left a bullet casing and chewed gum in the car. Was captured on his own security system returning home with a gun. Destroyed security footage and his phone and hired a cleaning crew to scrub his mansion of all evidence.

If true, is this the worst premeditated plan ever? His actions suggest he knew the trail would lead to him. So what could he have been thinking? That without the murder weapon or a confession, he could get off? That he had enough money to beat the case and then go back to playing football?

With all the evidence the prosecution has presented, can he possibly do better than a plea deal?

How will the defense attack this case?

If you are wondering what route his legal team has to take, here's a smart look at the challenges, per Clay Travis at Outkickthecoverage.com. Travis, a lawyer himself, writes that the text messages must be a point of contention.

"The text messages are hearsay, fight their inclusion by arguing against their authenticity and that they don't fit a hearsay exception which would overcome the general inadmissibility of hearsay evidence at trial. (Hearsay is an out-of-court statement being offered for the truth of the matter stated.)"

Another interesting point is the fact that there is not an eyewitness to the shooting.

". . . the best defense Hernandez's attorney's can rely on right now is there isn't yet an eyewitness to the shooting. (This assumes that the other two men in the vehicle with Hernandez refuse to testify against him). So while the prosecution can place Hernandez at the murder scene with the victim, they can't prove that he shot him."

Third, there's no murder weapon. But cops say a shell casing matching the .45-caliber bullets Lloyd was killed with was recovered from the rental car the men rode in, and .45 ammo was found in a search of a condo and vehicle Hernandez was leasing. Cops also said they found a photo of him with a Glock .45, the same gun they identified him with in his security-camera tape.

Will he use the "Football made me do it" defense?

We've heard plenty of former players blame concussions and head injuries for memory loss, mental health problems and even suicides. Are we eventually going to hear that football can make a man homicidal?

NESN reports: "In the coming weeks and months, don’t be surprised if you hear about a head injury Hernandez suffered on Jan. 14, 2012 in the Patriots playoff game against the Broncos. He got his 'bell rung' on a goal-line carry and sat out the rest of the game. ... Studies have shown that frontal lobe injuries have a connection with lack of impulse control."

How did no one see this coming?

Yes, Hernandez set state records in high school and was named the Connecticut Gatorade Football Player of the Year following his senior season. He played for Urban Meyer at the University of Florida and Bill Belichick in New England. He aced his psyche test when he was drafted and earned a $40 million deal at age 23.

Yes, the gulf between "shady past" and "accused murderer" is a big one. There are plenty of players with behavior issues. That doesn't make them killers.

But rumors lingered about Hernandez's possible affiliation with gangs in his hometown. He was questioned in a shooting while at Florida and failed at least one drug test, causing his draft stock to plummet. He covered himself in tats and posed with guns in pictures.

Even with a fiancée, an 8-month-old daughter and a $40 mil deal, Hernandez was hanging at bars and strip clubs and allegedly stockpiling guns. A Connecticut man claims Hernandez shot him in the eye in February during a night out in Miami, and he's suing for $75,000. And now Hernandez is being investigated in two more shootings and is charged with murder.

How'd no one see this coming? If he became paranoid that his old lifestyle was catching up to him and feared for his life, as one report claims, what were the friends, family and fiancee doing about it? Hernandez's mom says he's innocent. The fiancée reportedly cooperated with the DA. And the friends? Uh ... dead, arrested, wanted by police, and suing.

FOXSports.com's Jen Floyd Engel says you can't blame the Pats. But if Hernandez hid his behavior as badly as cops claim he hid his tracks in the Lloyd killing, it should have been a red flag long ago. And considering how fast the Pats cut ties with him, they don't seem to be in disbelief over the charges.

What do his ex-teammates have to say?

Pats players aren't talking, but at least one former one is. Matt Light, who played 11 years in New England and two with Hernandez, told the Dayton Daily News: "I never talk about other guys, but I will say I have never embraced — never believed in — anything Aaron Hernandez stood for."

It appears Hernandez was keeping bad company with guys from his hometown — the downfall of plenty of stars before him, FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez writes. Former NBA player Chris Herren was one such player. Now he travels the country telling his cautionary tale to young players, including this week at the NFL Rookie Symposium, where Hernandez was a hot topic.

"Here I am in Ohio getting ready to present to the 2013 NFL rookies and Aaron Hernandez is in a jail cell in Fall River, Mass., where I grew up," Herren told FOXSports.com's Laces Out blog this week. "The irony in that is just amazing."

Get more of Herren's perspective on the story next week at Laces Out.

Suspect Carlos Ortiz was charged on Friday.

Aaron Hernandez was denied bail Thursday in Fall River Superior Court.

Fiancée Shayanna Jenkins weeps in the courtroom.

Pats fans rally outside the courthouse.

Tagged: Patriots, Aaron Hernandez

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