George Huguely’s videotaped police statement aired at his February murder trial and a selection of other exhibits in the former University of Virginia student’s case will be available for public viewing — but not copying or replaying — May 15 and May 16 in a Charlottesville courtroom.
Huguely’s statement about his argument and fight with his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, 22, will be the first item shown, said Llezelle Dugger, Clerk of Court for the City of Charlottesville. During the trial, the videotape as well as other exhibits were shown to jurors on a monitor that was turned away from those inside the courtroom.
Huguely, 24, of Chevy Chase is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 30 after being convicted of second-degree murder and grand larceny in the May 2010 death of Love, 22, of suburban Baltimore. Both were seniors and varsity lacrosse players at UVa. Jurors recommended a 26-year sentence that a judge can accept or lower.
In February, media outlets including The Washington Post and Gannett Co. Inc. asked to have exhibits shown in court during the two-week trial, a request that Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire said would have interrupted the proceedings. The session May 15 and repeat session May 16 are intermediate steps to allow the public to see some of the evidence jurors weighed in making their decision.
In an April 23 letter to Dugger, attorneys in the criminal case and the media outlet’s lawyer, H. Robert Yates III, Hogshire explained his decision not to install different monitoring equipment while the trial was ongoing. “Given the late start of this case due to the protracted process of jury selection, I was not prepared to interrupt the proceeding” to install new equipment. “Without a doubt,” the judge wrote, “stopping the proceeding at that time would have seriously jeopardized the orderly completion of this multi-day trial which was already behind schedule.”
That letter refers to a list of “sensitive” and “non-sensitive” exhibits that Dugger said Wednesday she was given “under seal” and from which she has begun to scan non-sensitive items for the two days of viewing. In addition to the videotape, images of text messages exchanged by Huguely and Love, crime scene diagrams and some crime scene photos that do not show Love’s body will be among the exhibits on view, Dugger said.
Dugger said that until she has a chance to gauge what technological hurdles may arise in scanning the non-sensitive items, she is not able to say all items that will be made public. The trial also included messages Huguely exchanged with other women that weekend and a security tape from a local restaurant that purportedly showed Huguely and Love holding hands and being affectionate on the night before their final argument.
No recording, reproduction or replay of the exhibits will be allowed, Hogshire said in his letter. The viewings will be at 9:30 a.m. May 15 and 1:30 p.m. May 16 — days when there will be no proceedings in the lone Charlottesville Circuit courtroom because its judges will be at a judicial conference.
An attorney acting on behalf of Love’s survivors--her mother, Sharon Love of Cockeysville and sister, Lexie Love--also has asked for access to exhibits in connection with a civil suit filed April 26. The suit seeks $30 million in damages from Huguely alleging he showed ”reckless indifference” and “negligence” in Love’s death.
Huguely remains in regional jail in Charlottesville where he has been held since his arrest.