Murder of Yeardley Love
|Date||May 3, 2010|
|Location||222 14th Street, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.|
|Cause||Blunt force trauma|
|Burial||Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|Convicted||George Wesley Huguely V|
|Charges||First-degree murder, felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with an intent to commit a felony, grand larceny|
|Convictions||2 (second degree murder, grand larceny)|
|Sentence||23 years in prison|
The murder of Yeardley Love took place on May 3, 2010, in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. Love, a University of Virginia (UVA) women's lacrosse student-athlete, was found unresponsive in her Charlottesville apartment; later that day, UVA men's lacrosse player George Wesley Huguely V was arrested by Charlottesville police. Huguely was tried and found guilty of Love's murder.
Yeardley Reynolds Love
July 17, 1987
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Died||May 3, 2010 (aged 22)|
|Alma mater||University of Virginia|
Yeardley Reynolds Love was born on July 17, 1987 in Baltimore, Maryland, to John and Sharon Love. She resided in Cockeysville, Maryland. At Notre Dame Preparatory School, Love was a member of the varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams all four years and was an All-County lacrosse player in 2006. She was admitted to the University of Virginia (UVA), where she majored in political science and minored in Spanish. She was also a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. As a member of the UVA women's lacrosse team, the Cavaliers, Love scored her first goal in her first game, playing against Virginia Tech. She started in nine of her sixteen games in 2009 and in three of her fifteen games in 2010.
George Wesley Huguely V
September 17, 1987
|Occupation||College student-athlete (at the time of the murder)|
|Criminal status||In prison|
|Conviction(s)||Second degree murder, grand larceny|
|Criminal charge||First degree murder, felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with an intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny|
|Penalty||Formal sentence of 23 years (following a jury recommendation of 26 years)|
|Imprisoned at||State Farm Enterprise Unit|
George Wesley Huguely V was born on September 17, 1987 in Washington, D.C. to George Wesley Huguely IV and Marta Murphy, who subsequently divorced. Huguely attended the all-boys Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, and resided in Chevy Chase, Maryland. At Landon, Huguely was an All-American lacrosse player and played football as well. During his senior year at Landon, he was the quarterback of the football team.
In 2007, Huguely was charged with underage possession of alcohol in Florida, where his family owns a vacation home. In 2008, he was arrested for public drunkenness and resisting arrest outside the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house at Washington and Lee University. Police tased Huguely to subdue him. In that incident, he received a suspended sentence of sixty days and six months of probation, was fined, and was ordered to perform community service and participate in a drug treatment program. He did not disclose this arrest to UVA, despite a requirement to do so. During the 2010 season, Huguely was a midfielder for the Virginia Cavaliers men's lacrosse team. He majored in anthropology.
Love and Huguely's Relationship
Love and Huguely met their freshman year and were often seen hanging out together with their teammates. They had been dating for more than two years by the time of Spring 2010, just prior to her murder. It was Huguely's aggressive behavior, triggered by alcohol, that caused their relationship to be on and off. In 2009, Huguely attacked a teammate after hearing that he had kissed Love. Before her murder, Huguely sent threatening text messages and emails to Love.
Murder and arrest of a suspect
Around 2:15 a.m. EDT on May 3, 2010, Charlottesville police were called to Love's apartment on 14th Street in the University Corner district. At the scene, Love was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead. The 9-1-1 call from Love's roommate reported that she suffered an alcohol overdose, but detectives noticed "obvious physical injuries to her body" upon arrival. The suspect, George Huguely, was living next door.
On May 4, Huguely was charged with murdering Love and was held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. At a May 6 court appearance, his attorney, Fran Lawrence, stated: "Ms. Love's death was not intended but an accident with a tragic outcome." Huguely appeared at the hearing via video.
Huguely and Love dated over the course of two years, but had broken up. At the Charlottesville police station, Huguely waived his Miranda rights and narrated graphic details of his assaulting Love, stating that he kicked open her locked bedroom door and "shook Love, and her head repeatedly hit the wall". Furthermore, Huguely admitted that he took, and intended to destroy, her Apple laptop computer when he fled her apartment. Evidence that police seized from Huguely's apartment included two Apple laptop computers, a spiral notebook, two white socks, bathroom and entryway rugs, and a Virginia lacrosse shirt with a red stain. Investigators also followed leads of domestic violence between Huguely and Love, including threatening email and text messages that he sent to her post-breakup; a violent encounter between the couple that was broken up by several visiting lacrosse players from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and an incident in which Huguely attacked Love while drunk but did not recall having hit her. An unnamed student reported that the couple broke up after the drunken Huguely assaulted Love. She is now memorialized by the One Love Foundation.
A preliminary hearing for Huguely on a first-degree murder charge was held April 11, 2011, in Charlottesville District Court. Huguely continued to be held without bond at the Charlottesville jail. On January 7, 2012, prosecutors added five additional charges: felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with an intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny. A grand jury indicted Huguely on April 18, 2011, on first-degree and felony murder charges, and a trial date of February 6, 2012, was set.
Closing arguments were made on February 18, and jury deliberations began on Tuesday, February 22, following the Monday Presidents' Day holiday. After deliberating for about nine hours, the jury delivered a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny. After a further two hours of deliberation, the jury recommended a 26-year sentence: 25 years for second-degree murder and one year for grand larceny. The jury ruled out the "heat of passion" clause that characterizes voluntary manslaughter. A few of the jurors who spoke to the news media cited the importance of the videotape of Huguely's police interrogation, which was a central part of prosecutor Dave Chapman's case: the jury found that "pretty much every opportunity he had, he lied first. He was not telling the truth on several occasions."
On May 8, 2012, non-jurors for the first time were able to see Huguely in a 64-minute video in which he was told of Love's death. As he was interrogated by police, Huguely admitted, "I may have grabbed her neck" and "maybe I shook her a little bit." He then retells the argument and fight that happened in Love's bedroom, demonstrating how he shook her and kicked her door. Eventually, the detective informs Huguely that Love is dead. Huguely reacts in disbelief and says, "Kill me." Because of the raw emotions seen in this tape, the jury was convinced that Love's murder was not premeditated.
Conviction and sentencing
On August 30, 2012, Huguely was formally sentenced to 23 years in prison by Judge Edward Hogshire, with sentences of 23 years for the second-degree murder conviction and one year for the grand larceny conviction to run concurrently.
The Court of Appeals of Virginia issued a ruling on April 23, 2013, which granted Huguely an appeal based on two key issues. The court agreed with the defense's argument that Huguely's right to counsel was violated when one of his attorneys, Rhonda Quagliana, fell ill and missed a day of trial. The court also granted the appeal based on the failure to exclude "Juror 32" because of possible doubts about that juror's impartiality. The Court of Appeals then heard oral arguments from Huguely's new lawyer, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, on December 11, 2013. Clement argued for a new trial, arguing Huguely was denied his right to an attorney when one of his two lawyers fell ill during the trial. Nine days into the trial, Huguely co-counsel Quagliana became visibly ill with stomach flu, but the trial judge refused to grant a continuance, even though Huguely objected: co-counsel Frances Lawrence was asked by the trial judge whether he could proceed without Quagliana and said he could. In addition to raising questions about "Juror 32", Huguely's appeal team also objected to the trial judge's refusal to allow "blame the victim" questions of jurors and said the jury was not properly instructed on the definition of "malice", an element in a second-degree murder conviction. The Court of Appeals ruled against Huguely on March 4, 2014, affirming the second-degree murder conviction. In November 2014 the Virginia Supreme Court declined to consider Huguely's appeal.
More than four years after Huguely was sent to prison, his mother Marta Murphy spoke out. Murphy said that her son should have been convicted of a lesser charge and face less prison time as the murder was a "drunken accident." Murphy concluded that Huguely had no intent to murder Love and that Love's death was caused by injuries sustained from falling off the bed. Marta Murphy waited to speak out in respect for Love's family. Murphy believes that the criminal justice system has proven to be wrong and did not come to the correct verdict concerning her son.
Huguely in prison
In late September 2012, Huguely was moved from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail to the Powhatan Reception and Classification Center. On October 15, he was assigned to Keen Mountain Correctional Center, a high-security state prison in the far southwestern corner of Virginia: Keen is a Level 4 facility in Virginia's six-tier system of rating prison security. A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Corrections said Huguely must serve at least a year of his 23-year sentence with no major infractions before the state would consider allowing him to transfer to the Maryland prison system (where he could be closer to his parents' home in Bethesda). In early November 2013, Huguely was transferred from the Keen Mountain Correctional Center to River North Correctional Center in Independence, Virginia. The River North facility opened in October 2013 and is a Level 4 facility meant for long-term prisoners. As of December 2016[update] he was being held at the Augusta Correctional Center in Craigsville. Huguely currently is held at the State Farm Enterprise Unit (Formerly named Powhatan Reception And Classification Center). His release date is May 30, 2030, at which time he will be 42 years old.
Wrongful death civil lawsuits
On April 26, 2012, Sharon Love filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Huguely, asking for $29.45 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. On May 1, 2012, she filed a $29.45 million wrongful death lawsuit against UVA, men's lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia, associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale, and UVA director of athletics Craig Littlepage, alleging gross negligence on the part of the coaching staff. The suit alleged that, "It was well known to the players and coaches on the UVA men's and women's lacrosse teams that Huguely's alcohol abuse and erratic, aggressive behavior was increasingly getting out of control, especially his obsession with Love and his aggressiveness and threats to Love" and that in spite of this, no action was taken "to discipline Huguely, to suspend or remove Huguely from the lacrosse team, to refer Huguely for treatment or counseling for alcohol/substance abuse or anger/aggressive behavior management, or to subsequently report Huguely's potential risk of violence pursuant to the UVA Policy on Preventing and Addressing Threats or Acts of Violence".
The Love family dropped its suit against UVA and its coaches on July 23, 2013, with no reason given. The wrongful death suit against Huguely was scheduled to go to trial September 29, 2014, but after multiple delays was pushed back to a trial date of July 30, 2018; ultimately, shortly before the scheduled trial date, the civil suit was dropped (dismissed without prejudice) by Love's family on June 11, 2018.
The Love family re-filed its suit against George Huguely in 2018, and a trial began in Charlottesville District Court on April 25, 2022. On May 2, a jury found Huguely liable and awarded $15 million in compensatory, split evenly between Sharon Love and Love's sister, Lexie Love Hodges.
"My hope for Yeardley, and for you," said UVA president John T. Casteen III at a May 6, 2010, candlelight vigil, "is that her dying inspires an anger, a sense of outrage that engenders determination here and wherever Yeardley's name is recognized that no woman, no person in this place, this community, this state, our nation need either fear for her safety or experience violence for any reason." A funeral Mass for Love was held at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on May 8, with an attendance of around 2,000.
On May 10, UVA women's lacrosse coach Julie Myers explained the team planned to go forward with its role in the NCAA tournament: "Let's do it the way that Yards would want us to do it." In their respective tournaments, the men's team advanced to the semifinal and the women's team advanced to the quarterfinal.
One Love Foundation established
Love wore jersey number 1 while playing lacrosse for UVA and the team retired her number. Within months of her murder, her family established the One Love Foundation to raise awareness about domestic violence, especially relationship violence.
Currently, the One Love Foundation has educated around 1 million young people on the signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to have healthy love. The purpose of the One Love Foundation is to improve the relationship health of the next generation. One Love Foundation pairs fictional films with discussions between peers as a way to educate young people on the signs of unhealthy and healthy relationships. By the end of March 2020, One Love will reveal their online platform that works to teach people about the warning signs of relationship violence. One Love Foundation works with schools and communities across the United States and they look forward to growing their program to educate more young people.
In 2014, the One Love Foundation showed their film called Escalation to baseball and lacrosse players at the Jacksonville University (JU). After watching this short film, the student-athletes at JU had a discussion. Since then, many other universities and colleges have required their student-athletes to complete this workshop that encompasses watching a film and having a discussion. The One Love Foundation is looking to expand to more colleges across the country to make their workshops about relationship violence mandatory to all student-athletes. Since 2016, the One Love Foundation has also been partnered with the NFL.
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