Lacrosse player George Huguely charged in fellow U-Va. student Yeardley Love's death

By Mary Pat Flaherty and Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 4, 2010; A01

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- They were standout athletes who went to the University of Virginia to play for the school's nationally ranked lacrosse teams.

George Huguely, 22, of Chevy Chase had been the starting quarterback, an honor roll student and a lacrosse all-American at the renowned Landon School.

Yeardley Love, 22, of Baltimore County had been a four-year member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams at Notre Dame Prep in Baltimore.

At some point, they had a romantic relationship. But early Monday, Love was found dead inside her apartment, and a few hours later, Huguely was charged in her death.

The university community was grappling with Love's slaying. Members of the men's and women's lacrosse teams closed ranks and were keeping to themselves. But the rest of the campus was openly devastated by the news. "This death moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise," U-Va. President John Casteen said.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said there were no previous reports to police of violence between the U-Va. seniors.

Officers responded to a call about 2:15 a.m. Monday for a possible alcohol overdose at Love's apartment, but once there, Longo said, they found Love dead in her bedroom with "obvious physical trauma." The chief declined to describe Love's injuries but said police do not think a weapon was involved.

Longo said police have no other suspects in the case. Love and Huguely, he said, "have had a romantic relationship, but the exact status of that at this time is part of our investigation."

Love was found by a roommate, Longo said, at their apartment about three blocks off campus in the 200 block of 14th Street NW. Huguely was found at his nearby apartment, questioned and arrested by about 9 a.m., Longo said. Huguely was being held in Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and was scheduled for a bond hearing Tuesday.

At the Cockeysville, Md., home of Love's family, a woman who answered the telephone Monday and identified herself as a designated spokesman said, "The family has no comment at this time."

When reached by telephone, Huguely's grandfather, George Huguely III, said: "He was a wonderful child, and he was going to graduate. Hopefully he will be graduating. That's all I can tell you, okay? I'm sorry."

Huguely is an anthropology major, according to his online university team profile. He was a high-school all-American before joining the university lacrosse team, which is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches' poll.

Huguely, a reserve for the Cavaliers who has four goals and three assists in 15 games, was quoted in a 2006 Washington Post story defending his former Landon teammates, who were among the Duke University players involved in a controversial sexual assault case. They were later exonerated.

Love's profile, like Huguely's, shows a record of sports achievement, from playing for Notre Dame Prep to becoming a collegiate starter. She majored in government with a Spanish minor. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, where members gathered on a porch Monday night, trying to avoid television crews setting up across the street.

Notre Dame headmistress Sister Patricia McCarron said Love, who played varsity lacrosse and field hockey for four years, was a joyous, spirited person. Mary Bartel, who coached Love in lacrosse at the school, said she was the core personality of the team and an outstanding athlete.

The possibility that one accomplished U-Va. student might have killed another caused Casteen to react with anger and anguish in a statement released Monday.

"We express the University's and our own sympathy for Yeardley's family, team-mates and friends," he said. "That she appears now to have been murdered by another student compounds this sense of loss by suggesting that Yeardley died without comfort or consolation from those closest to her. We mourn her death and feel anger on reading that the investigators believe that another student caused it."

Elizabeth VanDyke, 22, lives in a building across from Love's and said she was rousted by sirens. When she looked onto a driveway that crosses between the buildings, VanDyke said, she saw a woman she recognized as one of Love's roommates "wailing on her cellphone," as a man tried to calm her.

The scene was frightening, said VanDyke, a U-Va. senior nursing major. "We were too afraid to come outside and see what was going on," she said Monday afternoon, as two police cars were stationed outside the complex. "It feels very surreal. Like I am in an episode of CSI."

Neither Robinson Bordley, Landon School's lacrosse and football coach, nor Drew Johnson, the school's athletic director, were made available to comment. A Landon communications officer said no one at the school would have any comment on Huguely until the criminal investigation had run its course.

Casteen went on to say in his statement "that, however little we may know now about Yeardley Love's death, we do know that she did not have or deserve to die -- that she deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player. She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and not for the terrible way in which her young life has ended."

Flaherty reported from Washington. Staff writers Zach Berman and Mark Viera in Charlottesville and Steve Yanda in Washington contributed to this report.

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