Accused U-Va. player George Huguely attacked sleeping student, teammates say

Virginia's players honor deceased teammate Yeardley Love in their 14-12 victory over Towson in the NCAA tournament.
By David Nakamura, Christian Swezey and Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 8, 2010

University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely attacked a sleeping teammate last year, leaving his face bruised, after hearing that the player had kissed Yeardley Love, a student Huguely had dated, according to three former U-Va. lacrosse players with knowledge of the incident.

U-Va. lacrosse Coach Dom Starsia quickly learned of the February 2009 incident and disciplined the two players, although both played in games that week, according to the former players, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and records of the games.

School officials have said they were not informed of prior violence by Huguely, a 22-year-old senior from Chevy Chase who was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder in Love's slaying. It is unclear whether Starsia told his superiors about the attack.

One former U-Va. team member said Huguely beat the sleeping teammate in his room after a night of partying. The player said Huguely was outraged over his teammate's encounter with Love, 22, a player on U-Va.'s women's lacrosse team who was dating Huguely at the time. Two other former men's team players confirmed the account.

Huguely was arrested Monday, hours after Love was found dead in her Charlottesville apartment. Police say Huguely told them he kicked in the door and shook Love during a violent argument, causing her head to repeatedly hit a wall. Huguely's attorney has said that Love's death was an accident.

Attempts to reach Starsia, whose father died Friday, by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful. University spokeswoman Carol Wood said she was not aware of the 2009 incident. The allegedly injured player did not respond to a message sent to him on Facebook or to telephone messages left with family members.

Since Huguely's arrest, reports have emerged about his past run-ins with the law, including a violent, alcohol-fueled confrontation with a police officer in 2008. The patrolwoman in Lexington, Va., used a Taser on Huguely before eventually subduing him.

Two months before Love's death, two current and one former University of North Carolina lacrosse players had to separate Huguely from Love at a party on the U-Va. campus, according to two sources with knowledge of the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In suburban Baltimore on Friday, mourners packed the Ruck Towson Funeral Home for an emotional wake for Love. The room was adorned with collages and photos from Love's youth, effectively filling it with images of her piercing blue eyes. A digital slideshow played on a laptop that the procession of mourners passed on its way to the closed coffin.

A prayer card pictured Love smiling in a sundress of yellow, purple and pink. Mourners lined up to pay respects to Sharon and Lexi Love, Yeardley's mother and sister.

Flowers were sent by lacrosse teams from Princeton, Georgetown, Brown, Notre Dame and other universities, as well as from Love's high school and college teams. Love grew up in the Baltimore suburb of Cockeysville and attended Notre Dame Prep, a girl's school in Towson.

A Mass and private burial are scheduled for Saturday.

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