CHARLOTTESVILLE — As their final semester at the University of Virginia progressed and graduation approached, the on-and-off relationship between George Huguely V and Yeardley Love unraveled and erupted into several fights, her two roommates have testified.
The details of the volatile relationship between the two lacrosse players came Wednesday during the first day of testimony in Huguely’s murder trial in Love’s May 2010 death. On Thursday, prosecution witnesses continued to take the stand in a trial that is expected to last about two weeks.
Three specific incidents were described at length during opening statements and testimony on Wednesday: In late February 2010, a lacrosse player from another school intervened when he found Huguely aggressively holding Love down in his bedroom, an incident that Love’s friends say left her visibly shaken, prosecutors said.
In late April 2010, Love went to Huguely’s apartment after hearing that he was seeing another woman and hit him with her purse, according to testimony. And, prosecutors said, in the days before her death, Huguely sent Love an e-mail that read, in part: “I should have killed you.”
The fights between the two were often fueled by alcohol, stress and jealousy about other romantic interests, said Huguely’s attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence.
Huguely has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, felony murder in the commission of a robbery, robbery, burglary in the nighttime, breaking and entering and grand larceny.
The February incident occurred during a party that Huguely hosted at his apartment, according to testimony. A lacrosse player from another university heard noise coming from Huguely’s bedroom and opened the door to find Huguely on his back with Love on top of him on her back, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Warner “Dave” Chapman. The player said that Huguely had a “choke hold” on Love, Chapman said.
Lawrence also described the scene and said that Huguely’s “arm was on her chest.”
The lacrosse player who intervened has been subpoenaed by prosecutors.
Love returned to her apartment following the incident, and her two roommates described how she was shaken and scared.
“Her eyes were red, and her mascara was coming off,” said Kaitlin Duff, another lacrosse player who lived with Love.
Love’s other roommate, Caitlin Whiteley, said she had never seen Love so upset.
“She was hysterical,” said Whiteley, who also played lacrosse and was the one who found Love dead in their apartment. “She was crying and physically shaking and upset.”
Whiteley told jurors that she later talked to Huguely about the incident and he told her that he was angry at Love for telling people about it. Lawrence said that Huguely later gave Love a handwritten apology note.
At about that same time, Love called her mother and arranged to be picked up in Annapolis, her mother testified. “She was shaken,” said Sharon Love, who later drove her daughter back to campus so she would not miss lacrosse practice.
In late April, there was another clash between the couple when Love heard from a U-Va. tennis player that Huguely had been seeing another woman, according to court testimony. Love went to Huguely’s apartment and struck him with her purse, losing her cell phone and camera in the process.
Chapman called it a “terrible incident.” Lawrence said that Love had been drinking that day and this incident was the first time in the relationship that “anyone hit anyone.” Lawrence said that Love later e-mailed Huguely to apologize.
That week the couple began to exchange e-mails that Lawrence described as “abusive, angry, demeaning.” In an e-mail sent on April 30, 2010, Huguely told Love that he was angry to hear she had a relationship with another man. The e-mail included this sentence: “I should have killed you.”
Love, who was on a lacrosse team trip to Northwestern University at the time, showed the e-mail to at least one teammate and told several others about it. Chapman said that Love e-mailed Huguely back and wrote, in part: “You should have killed me?” The defense said the next sentence in that e-mail said: “You are so [messed] up.”
The prosecutor said that Huguely then e-mailed Love and said they needed to talk.
When Love returned from Illinois, she saw Huguely on Saturday night at Boylan Heights, a restaurant and bar down the street from her apartment, according to testimony. They briefly talked, Whiteley testified.
The next day, May 2, Love had brunch with friends, did some homework, went to Boylan Heights then returned home to shower and decided to stay in for the night, according to the prosecutor.
Hours later, at about 2 a.m., Love’s roommate Whiteley returned to their apartment, went to Love’s bedroom and found her in her bed, bloody and unresponsive. Hours after that, Huguely was arrested.
Testimony continued on Thursday and as of lunchtime half a dozen witnesses for the prosecution, including two police officers and three EMTs, had taken the stand.
For updates from the trial, you can follow Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) on Twitter.