Was it revenge? Or a mistake?

Understanding what happened in that ramshackle house on Pine Street in Rumford requires untangling. The lives of the two victims and the two alleged murderers were intertwined. There’s a reason Victor Sheldon and Roger Day were killed.

It’s just a matter of determining which one.

From what’s known, the roles of those involved in this small-town drama are familiar, save one. Richard Moulton, who allegedly planned the crime, is the jealous boyfriend. Sheldon was reportedly the aggressive, abusive ex-husband. Day was, apparently, the unlucky bystander.

This leaves Eric Hamel, a purportedly soft-spoken honor student, whose relationship with the victims is seemingly tangential, at best. He was a friend of Moulton’s, and police say his friend convinced him to be the shooter. This friend later gave a sketch of Hamel to police.

Of all the confusing elements of this crime, Hamel is the toughest riddle. He allegedly agreed to murder for his friend, for no apparent reason, and confessed to having done so. He had just graduated high school and had the entire world and his life before him. If found guilty of this crime, he will have lost both.

The question for police and investigators is determining Hamel’s motive. For the rest of us, observers of this scene, the question should be: “What could make this young man kill so easily?”

Theories abound, such as retaliation for childhood abuse or a fulfillment of the gothic, loner stereotype. Both are fraught with fallacies. A clothing style doesn’t turn a person into a murderer, and there is no concrete evidence Hamel was ever abused.

The answer has ramifications beyond this single crime, as Hamel’s reported role was the easiest prevented. Jealous boyfriends and ex-husbands will always clash, and too often, there will be somebody in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and it will cost them their life.

Hamel is different. He allegedly chose to do this willingly, in cahoots with his aggrieved buddy, and unless it really was the ultra-devoted act of a lifelong friend, his reasons remain unknown.

It could have been revenge. It could have been a mistake. Or, perhaps, it was twisted justice. There are many more details to come which will provide clarity on just what went so wrong that day in Rumford.

Right now, it could be many things. What it is, though, is painfully clear.

A tragedy.

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