From the campus of the University of Virginia to Charlottesville’s court house square, preparations are in place for Monday’s scheduled start of the murder trial of George Huguely V of Chevy Chase, the former university men's lacrosse player accused in the 2010 death of Yeardley Love, his ex-girlfriend and a player on the women’s lacrosse team.
The coming days, “will be a challenging period for our community as the trial of George Huguely begins and the details of Yeardley's death re-emerge,” University President Terry Sullivan wrote in a Wednesday email to faculty and staff.
Court and city officials meanwhile plan to close off a central street to accommodate a caravan of TV satellite trucks that are part of an onslaught of more than 150 journalists who have registered for access to the small Charlottesville Circuit court.
Jury selection is set to start Monday and continue Tuesday.
Love, 22, of Cockeysville, was found facedown in a pillow in a pool of blood on May 3, when a roommate returned to the off-campus apartment they shared, according to arrest reports and previous court testimony. Huguely, 24, was arrested within hours.
Both were seniors and since high school had been part of the closeknit lacrosse community.
Police have said in court filings that Huguely told them in a videotaped statement — which has yet to be aired in court — that he kicked down Love’s bedroom door and fought with her. In that statement, police said, Huguely told them he had seen Love bleeding after her head hit a wall while he was shaking her.
The state medical examiner ruled Love died of blunt force trauma to the head.
During a hearing in April in the case and in subsequent pre-trial motions, the defense has made clear they plan to challenge the medical examiner’s finding and explore whether medication or alcohol were factors in Love’s death.
An attorney for Huguely said shortly after his arrest that Love’s death was “an accident with a tragic outcome” but not an intentional criminal act.
Huguely is charged with first-degree murder, which means he is alleged to have acted “feloniously, willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation” in Love’s death. That charge carries a possible life sentence.
He also is charged with felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with intent to commit a felony and grand larceny.
The robbery-related charges stem from statements that Huguely gave police that on the night of Love’s death in which police said he told them he had taken a computer from Love’s apartment and dumped it in a trash container where officers later found it.