Landon School alumnus charged with murder
Police say University of Virginia lacrosse player, 22, killed fellow student
George Huguely and Yeardley Love might have looked at each other once and seen something like their own reflections staring back.
Both took turns as star athletes at their Maryland private schools, Huguely, of Chevy Chase, at Bethesda's Landon School and Love at Baltimore's Notre Dame Preparatory School. Both were 22-year-old, fourth-year students at the University of Virginia. Huguely was midfielder on the men's lacrosse team, while Love played defense for the women's team. They lived down the street from each other in Charlottesville, Va. At one time, they were romantically involved.
But when Love, from Cockeysville north of Baltimore, was found by police in her apartment at 2:15 a.m. Monday, her image had been shattered. A pool of blood surrounded her head on her pillow, her right face was badly bruised, and her right eye was swollen shut, according to a police affidavit. Someone had forced her bedroom door open and put a hole in it.
A few hours later, Huguely, a Chevy Chase native who was once captain of Landon's lacrosse team, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
In a prepared statement, his attorney, Francis Lawrence, called Love's death an accident with "a tragic outcome," not murder.
Charlottesville police were called by Love's roommate at her apartment in the 200 block of 14th Street N.W. in Charlottesville, and initially were told in the 911 call that Love might have been suffering from an alcohol overdose, police spokesman Ric Barrick said.
But when police arrived, they declared her dead on the scene.
"The body was lying in a way that someone from a certain vantage point wouldn't have been able to see the trauma," Barrick said.
Police continue investigation
Between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday, Huguely voluntarily appeared at a Charlottesville police station. He told police that an argument with Love on Sunday became physical, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant of Huguely's apartment, a few buildings down the street from Love's residence.
He told police that he shook Love repeatedly and that her head repeatedly hit the wall of her apartment. He also admitted that he had kicked a hole in the door leading to Love's room. Huguely said the two previously had been in a romantic relationship, according to the affidavit.
Police also said Huguely had "communicated with Love by email" before he took her computer from her apartment and threw it away. Police later recovered the computer after Huguely told them where it was.
Huguely seemed ignorant of the circumstances in which Love's body was found, according to police.
"He appeared surprised. That's all I can say. But he was very cooperative," Barrick said. "He was visibly upset about the situation when it was described to him."
Angela Hamlet with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Central District office in Richmond, Va., said Tuesday that Love's autopsy is pending.
Police did not say if Huguely was intoxicated during his encounter with Love or on Monday morning, or if Love was intoxicated. Police did not release an estimated time for Love's death.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Huguely was being detained at the Charlottesville/Albemarle jail without bail.
Huguely has withdrawn from the University of Virginia, according to a statement from Lawrence, the Charlottesville attorney representing him. He was expected to graduate this month.
"Because this case involves an active ongoing investigation, any comment on the specific facts would be inappropriate at this time," Lawrence said in the statement. "Until more information becomes available, it is our hope that no conclusions will be drawn or judgments made about George or his case. However we are confident that Ms. Love's death was not intended but an accident with a tragic outcome."
Attempts to reach Huguely's parents in Montgomery County were unsuccessful.
Far from home
Huguely, named to The Gazette's first-team all-county team for lacrosse in 2006, also was arrested Nov. 15, 2008, in Lexington, Va., for public swearing/intoxication and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty to both charges and received a 60-day suspended sentence for resisting arrest and a $100 fine for public swearing/intoxication.
A Landon School spokeswoman, Jean Erstling, confirmed Huguely had been a student at the school from 2002 to 2006, but declined any comment on his arrest. Landon School lacrosse coach Rob Bordley and athletic director Michael Derwinski did not respond to phone calls seeking comment. In a statement late Tuesday, Headmaster David Armstrong said the school community is "deeply saddened" by the events.
According to information from the university's athletics department, Huguely was a three-time honor roll student at Landon.
A woman who identified herself as the sister of Sharon Love, Yeardley Love's mother, in Cockeysville, said the family had no comment.
Members of the Notre Dame Preparatory community in Baltimore recalled Love's infectious positive attitude.
"Yeardley was the core of the personality of the team she was our laughter, a good soul. She always found an appropriate way to lighten things up," said Mary Bartel, Love's lacrosse coach. "I don't think there is a soul in this [school] building who couldn't say her name without smiling."
A vigil for Love will probably take place at the university tonight, said spokeswoman Carol Wood. She said she could not reveal any disciplinary record or information for Huguely. Both the men's and women's lacrosse teams, Wood said, are leaning toward playing their seasons instead of canceling them, although a final decision had not been made as of Tuesday afternoon.
In an April 1, 2006, Washington Post article about the scandal involving Duke University men's lacrosse team and a stripper, Huguely and his father, George Huguely IV, were quoted about the situation and the Landon School's ties to the case. Five Landon graduates were on the Duke men's lacrosse team at the time of the incident in which a stripper alleged that Duke lacrosse players raped her at a party. The charges were dropped.
"Regardless of what winds up happening, you have to learn from this experience and take what you can from it," Huguely IV told The Washington Post, before the charges against the Duke players were dropped. "You always have to remember and can't let yourself be in a situation where something like this could happen."