Police search of accused killer's apartment turns up red-stained T-shirt and letter to the victim

Computer and other items seized as investigation continues in Love's death

May 05, 2010|By Don Markus and Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – — Police who searched the apartment of George Huguely recovered a T-shirt with a red stain and a letter addressed to Yeardley Love, the Cockeysville woman he is accused of killing, according to a Charlottesville newspaper.

A court document filed by police Wednesday lists several items seized by detectives from Huguely's apartment as they investigated Love's killing, including two Apple laptop computers, a spiral notebook, a shower curtain, rugs and a pair of blue cargo shorts. Court officials said Wednesday that the document had been sealed by court order, but its contents were described in a story by the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. confirmed in an interview that police are exploring several leads suggesting previous troubles in the couple's relationship — including a claim that the two University of Virginia lacrosse players had a public altercation Sunday in a restaurant or bar in the hours before Love's death.

Of the leads, Longo said: "It is our job to determine whether they are factual or not. The possibility exists that all of them are true."

Police found Love, 22, dead in her off-campus apartment Monday, with bruises on her face and one eye swollen shut. A hole had been kicked through the door to her bedroom. Huguely, 22, told police he shook Love repeatedly, and her head struck a wall.

Speaking about the incident for the first time Wednesday night, university officials said they were not aware of reports of prior violence involving Huguely. They said distraught students are searching their memories for warning signs they might have missed, while acknowledging that athletes often follow an unwritten code that might have kept them from speaking out about a teammate.

"It's challenging right now, a lot of young people struggling with what they might have known, what they might have seen," said Allen Groves, dean of students.

Students and administrators at the university, where Love and Huguely were fourth-year students preparing to graduate, held a candlelight vigil at the campus amphitheatre Wednesday night. Several thousand people gathered under a darkening sky, on the eve of final exams, to honor Love through an event organized by the student council. Students filled the seats and spilled onto the grassy banks behind, many holding white candles passed out by the ushers.

Eric Delosreyes, 20, a third-year student, never met Love but said he felt compelled to attend the vigil to "reflect on the goodness of her life" and not the violent circumstances of her death.

University President John T. Casteen praised Love as a woman "full of promise and high prospects."

"Yeardley Love accomplished much in her too brief life," Casteen said. "She earned the respect of those around her. … [She did] nothing to deserve to be attacked and beaten ... to deserve to suffer the injuries of which we've all read in police reports, to deserve to die."

"Take something away from this event tonight," Casteen added. "Take with you the determination that you will speak up for yourself, that you will act when you see or hear or hear about abuse or violence in the world around you. Don't watch abuse, don't hear stories of abuse from your friends and keep quiet; speak out."

Yeardley, a graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, will be awarded a University of Virginia degree posthumously, Casteen said. Huguely, a Chevy Chase native who graduated from the Landon School in Bethesda, was suspended from the university upon being charged.

Among the questions being pursued by police is whether alcohol played a role. Longo said no blood-alcohol tests of Huguely were conducted because too much time had passed by the time he spoke with police Monday morning. But roommates who discovered Love, and who presumably knew her whereabouts earlier in the day, "assumed that alcohol might have been involved," Longo said.

The Washington Post reported on its website Wednesday that eight of the 41 players on the University of Virginia men's lacrosse team have been charged with alcohol-related offenses during their time at the school. At least five were convicted or pled guilty.

The list includes Huguely, who pled guilty to public drunkenness and resisting arrest in Lexington, Va., in 2008 — an incident during which he was Tasered by police and shouted "I'll kill all you bitches" to a female officer, according to police accounts of the arrest.

University officials said Wednesday night they were not aware of the earlier arrest, even though students are required to report such incidents. Police are not obligated to do the same, though many do out of courtesy. Each morning, administrators receive a report of police incidents involving students, said Groves, the dean of students. But the 2008 incident was not divulged at the time.

Casteen called the oversight a failure of the system.

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