UVA lacrosse player's convicted killer heads back to court
Nearly 12 years after University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love was found dead in her off-campus apartment, the man who was convicted of second-degree murder in her killing is headed back to court for a civil trial in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Yeardley's mother.
Jury selection is expected in Charlottesville Circuit Court on Monday in a trial that will seek to hold George Huguely liable in the death of Love. The lawsuit seeks $29.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
Love and Huguely were both seniors who were weeks away from graduating. They were known for their play on UVA's nationally ranked men's and women's lacrosse teams, but they were also known for their volatile relationship.
Prosecutors said in May 2010, Huguely kicked a hole in Love's bedroom door, then beat her after a day of golf and binge drinking, enraged that she had had a relationship with a lacrosse player from North Carolina.
A medical examiner concluded that the 22-year-old Love died of blunt force trauma to her head, but defense and prosecution experts offered differing medical opinions on the lethal consequences of her injuries.
The civil trial is expected to include many of the same witnesses, although many of them are expected to testify in videotaped depositions instead of in person.
Huguely's attorney, Matthew Green, said the defense will acknowledge that Huguely's assault and battery caused Love's death and that her family is entitled to compensatory damages in an amount to be decided by the jury. But he said the defense does not believe punitive damages are appropriate.
Green said Huguely is expected to testify. He said Huguely will be brought to court from prison on the day he is scheduled to testify, but not on the other days of the trial.
Jurors in Huguely's 2012 first-degree murder trial viewed a police interrogation video that was recorded hours after Love's body was found in her apartment.
"I have to tell you something," Det. Lisa Reeves told Huguely after he had answered questions about the night's events. "She's dead. You killed her."
"She's dead? How is she dead?" Huguely asked repeatedly. "Please, please tell me she is not dead."
"George, I wish I could, but I can't do that. She's 22-years-old and the life's gone out of her," Reeves said.
Before finding out Love was dead, Huguely told police in his video-taped statement that when he went to see his former girlfriend the night of her death he told her to "chill out" and "shook her a little."
"We were just going to talk," Huguely told the officer in the video.