Va. students to hold candlelight vigil for slain Cockeysville lacrosse player

Defense attorney for Huguely says death of Yeardley Love was an accident

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

Charlottesville, Va. — Students at the University of Virginia are planning to hold a candlelight vigil tonight in memory of slain lacrosse player Yeardley Love, the first campus-wide event organized in honor of the 22-year-old Cockeysville native.

Friends and acquaintances of Love have held private tributes since she was found dead in her off-campus apartment Monday morning, including a small candle ceremony on campus yesterday. But tonight's vigil, a public event at 8 p.m. in the university's McIntire Amphitheater, will be one of the few organized activities on a campus otherwise engrossed in preparations for exams.

University President John T. Casteen III is expected to speak, along with members of the Student Council, which organized the vigil.

"This is a difficult time for our community," Student Council President Colin Hood wrote in a message announcing the event. "The violent death … has left her many friends, classmates, and teammates grief-stricken. Many of us are in shock as to how such an act could occur."

Love's former boyfriend kicked a hole in her bedroom door near the University of Virginia campus, according to police, then left her lying in a pool of blood on her pillow, where she was later found dead.

George Huguely, the fellow Virginia student charged with first-degree murder in her death, told police that they had an altercation, search warrant affidavits say, and that he "shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall."

Huguely's defense attorney, Francis Lawrence, said Love's death was "an accident with a tragic outcome."

Huguely, who is from Chevy Chase and is a member of the men's lacrosse team, said little in a brief court appearance Tuesday. He wore a black-and-white-striped prison jumpsuit. A bail review hearing was postponed until June 10.

On a day when reflection mixed with disbelief and shock on the Virginia campus, news emerged Tuesday of a 2008 incident in Lexington, Va., in which Huguely was charged with public drunkenness and resisting arrest. After he was seen stumbling drunkenly into traffic during a fraternity party, Huguely threatened a Lexington police officer in what she recalled as a profanity-laced tirade.

"He used colorful statements such as, 'I'll kill all you bitches, y'all are a bunch of (expletive).…" Patrolwoman R.L. Moss said in a written statement, adding that Huguely continued to resist arrest and had to be Tasered before Moss could apply handcuffs.

In Charlottesville, a search warrant affidavit painted a grisly picture of the scene in Love's second-floor apartment when police arrived about 2:30 a.m. Monday. Love, a graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School for girls in Towson, had a large bruise on the right side of her face, her right eye was swollen shut and there were bruises and scrapes on her chin. She was face down.

"Based on this information, probable cause exists that Yeardley Love was murdered," the document said. "Life-saving procedures" were attempted on the young woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation led police to the nearby home of Huguely, 22, a lacrosse player and college senior who had dated Love. Huguely was taken to police headquarters in Charlottesville, where he waived his Miranda rights and, after being questioned, was charged with killing her.

Huguely told police that his relationship with Love had ended. Police found a hole in Love's bedroom door, and an affidavit says he admitted kicking his right foot through the door after entering the apartment through an unlocked front door. Police observed bruising on both of Huguely's hands and a scratch on his arm – injuries that he said he received while playing lacrosse.

Huguely said he and Love had communicated by e-mail and that — after the altercation that ended in her death — "he took Love's computer from the residence and disposed of it," the documents say. Huguely told police where he had left the computer and it was recovered, according to the affidavits.

The documents made available Tuesday sought court permission to search Love's and Huguely's apartments. Police also were seeking a warrant to take DNA samples from Huguely to compare with hair and other evidence found at the crime scene.

Love was found in her apartment by her roommate, Caitlin Whiteley, and a friend, Philippe Oudshoorn, who called 911. Whiteley told police she initially thought Love had passed out from alcohol poisoning.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said the cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, and noted that no weapon was involved.

In a courtroom packed with reporters Tuesday, Huguely was shown sitting in the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Jail via closed-circuit television. He appeared nervous, awaiting word from District Judge Robert Downer and Lawrence, a Charlottesville defense lawyer retained by the Huguely family.

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