Lacrosse players fought before Yeardley Love's death, police say

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By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2010; 1:56 PM

Former Virginia lacrosse players George Huguely V and Yeardley Love got into a physical altercation and exchanged e-mails in the days leading up to Love's May 3 death, according to search warrant affidavits released Wednesday.

The affidavits, released by the Charlottesville Circuit Court, reveal partially redacted findings of the searches of two white-colored Apple laptop computers that were seized from the bedroom of Huguely's off-campus apartment May 3.

Huguely, a 22-year-old Chevy Chase native who had been a member of the men's lacrosse team at Virginia, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Love, his former girlfriend of more than two years. A hearing in Huguely's case has been set for Oct. 8.

According to the affidavits, an unidentified witness told police the day after the alleged murder that Love had told her about an e-mail Huguely sent to Love in the previous week.

The witness told police she may have seen the e-mail while she and Love were in Chicago. The Virginia women's lacrosse team, of which the 22-year-old Love was a member, played at Northwestern on April 30 in Evanston, Ill.

Following the physical altercation at Love's off-campus apartment on the night of her alleged murder, Huguely took Love's personal computer, he later told police. Huguely said he threw Love's computer into a dumpster after leaving Love's residence that night.

Two Charlottesville detectives recovered the computer shortly thereafter in a dumpster on Sadler Street in Charlottesville, according to the affidavit. The computer's serial number matched records of a computer previously sold to Love that were provided by Dell Inc.

During a forensic search of Love's computer that was consented to by Sharon Love, Yeardley's mother, police discovered fragments of an e-mail with a statement that was redacted in the affidavit. A fragmented e-mail is "a partial portion of an email that has been retrieved from the deleted files of a computer that was previously sent or received," according to the affidavit.

Police believe the e-mail was sent in response to a previous e-mail sent by Huguely. Two other witnesses independently told police of their knowledge of recent e-mail correspondence between Huguely and Love.

Witnesses also told police Love lost her cell phone and a camera following a verbal argument with Huguely at his apartment in the days leading up to her alleged murder. A friend of Love's stated she witnessed an altercation between Love and Huguely "a few days before Love's death," according to the affidavit.

"She stated that Love and Huguely were arguing and Love hit Huguely with her purse," the affidavit stated. The witness, whose named was redacted, "stated that when Love's purse hit Huguely all her stuff flew out of her purse."

The witness helped Love collect her belongings and leave Huguely's apartment. Love later told the unnamed witness that she was missing her camera and cell phone and that she thought the items had been left at Huguely's apartment, according to the affidavit.

The witness said Love asked her to go to Huguely's apartment and retrieve the items, which the unnamed witness attempted to do. The affidavit stated that the witness found the camera, but not the cell phone.

The University of Virginia recently began requiring students to report whether they have been arrested or convicted, which university leaders hope will flag those who might commit violent acts.

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