The trial of George Huguely V, a University of Virginia lacrosse player who was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend, pulled back the cover on the lives of the upper echelons at the prestigious school to reveal a tempest of abuse and jealousy. Huguely now faces 26 years behind bars in the May 3. beating death of Yeardley Love, 22, also a UVA lacrosse player.
Prosecutors described the night of her murder as one of bludgeoning torture, describing Huguely as bent on harming Love after finding out she was dating someone else. Defense attorneys said she banged her head against a bedroom wall. But authorities say her injuries were so extreme that her right eye was bashed in and her brain was bruised. A coroner established that she died of blunt force trauma.
(MORE: The Murder of Yeardley Love)
This came after reports of other abuse; Huguely is said to have put Love in a chokehold and the two reportedly had virulent public arguments.
The incident resulted in the Virginia General Assembly passing a law allowing broader terms for people who seek protective orders. Here is a look at the events leading up to the murder and the eventual conviction of Huguely according to reports in Charlotesville’s The Hook and other news outlets:
Summer 2007: George Huguely V, the son of a wealthy Washington socialite, begins dating Yeardley Love. Both are part of the University of Virginia men’s and women’s lacrosse culture; the two teams are close and romantic relationships often occur.
November 14, 2008: Huguely is convicted of public drunkenness after he is pulled over on a road trip with friends, heading to Lexington, Va. He threatens the female officer and is subdued by a taser. He later pays a $100 fine and serves 50 hours of community service.
February 21, 2009: Hearing rumors that a teammate kissed Love, Huguely attacks him in his sleep, bruising his eye. The incident reaches the team coach, but is quashed. No charges are filed against him.
Feb. 27, 2010: Mike Burns, a lacrosse player at the University of North Carolina who was attending a party in Huguely’s apartment, enters a bedroom to find Love in a choke hold at Huguely’s hands. He releases her and leaves. Burns and Love later begin a romantic relationship that causes friction between Huguely and Love.
April 27, 2010: Love, having found out that Huguely is seeing her sorority sister, confronts him in his apartment, where she also encounters two other girls. She throws her purse at him. Three days later, she receives an e-mail saying “I should have killed you.” She shows it to several friends.
May 2, 2010: Apparently drunk at the lacrosse team’s father-son golf tournament at Wintergreen Resort, Huguely is barely coherent, slurring his words. Just before midnight, saying he “just wants to talk” Huguely breaks through the door of Love’s apartment bedroom. He later lies to his roommate about where he’s been.
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May 3, 2010: Police arrive at 2:24 a.m. to find the bloodied, battered body of Yeardley Love. Huguely is arrested.
May 4, 2010: Questioned about Love, Huguely admits they had been in an altercation, that he kicked her door in, and that he had shaken her with her head hitting the wall. His attorneys maintain he did not intentionally kill her. He is charged with first degree murder.
May 6, 2010: The Charlottesville Circuit Court seals the case records with no explanation. Information about Huguely’s violent record begins to surface. UVA officials are questioned about the schools policy on student criminal behavior. The school later confirms that he attacked another lacrosse player. Police admit that there is no system to notify school officials when a student is arrested in Charlottesville or Albemarle County.
May 18, 2010: A judge begins a series of hearings based on the persistence of local newspapers to have the case records released. By August, the released documents reveal the volatile relationship between Huguely and Love.
Dec. 22, 2010: The judge refuses to release Love’s medical records to defense attorneys, who are trying to prove that her death was not the result of a deliberate attack.
January 7, 2011: Additional charges are filed against Huguely: felony murder, robbery, burglary, statutory burglary, and grand larceny.
April 18, 2011: Judge sets Huguely’s trial date for February 2012.
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Nov. 18, 2011: Huguely’s defense is given acccess to Yeardley Love’s medical records.
Jan. 19, 2012: Forensic evidence filed with court shows that blood from one of the pieces of evidence does not match Love or Huguely.
Feb. 6, 2012: The trial begins.
Feb. 14, 2012: A medical examiner testifies on DNA evidence presented. Dr. William Gormley said Love had a blood alcohol content of 0.14, and 0.05 milligrams per liter of an amphetamine in her system. He said neither could have caused her death. Although he discusses her injuries for five hours, he cannot establish exactly how they happened. The defense questions Virginia Commonwealth University neuropathologist Dr. Christine Fuller, attacking her credibility, and highlighting that Love had no skull fractures, nor any shoulder or torso damage. She admits she cannot specifically say what caused the blunt force trauma.
Feb. 15, 2012: The prosecution rests and the defense begins its case. Attorneys make a motion that all charges be dismissed except for grand larceny, arguing that the Commonwealth has not proven there was an intent to kill. The judge overrules the motion, saying the prosecution has ample evidence to continue its case.
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Feb. 22, 2012: The jury begins deliberating. After nine hours, jurors find George Huguely V guilty of second degree murder, downgrading the original charge. He could have recieved a life sentence. He was also found guilty of grand larceny in taking Love’s computer, but not guilty of robbery, breaking and entering with intent to commit assault and battery and breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny.
April 16, 2012: Huguely is scheduled to be sentenced. Jurors have recommended that he serve 25 years in prison for the homicide.