Followed by future son-in-law Jamison Hodges, Sharon Love leaves court Friday after the airing of the explosive interrogation tape.
The victim's sister, Lexie, shown here another day, could be heard sobbing as the tape played.
"She's like a fish out of water" - audio reenactment of the tape by Hawes Spencer on WINA radio with host Coy Barefoot - 2/10/12
A police interrogation videotape began with a groggy George W. Huguely V recounting copious amounts of alcohol he began consuming that fateful Sunday morning and ending with him expressing real or staged disbelief about the Monday-morning death of Yeardley Love.
"She's dead. How the f*** is she dead?" (long pause) "She's dead? How, how, how, how is she she dead? I didn't do anything. I didn't f***ing hit her."
It was a painful 20 minutes or so of the taped Huguely continuing to repeat alleged shock and disbelief. It was so awkward that even the present-day Huguely began rubbing his eyes in what appeared to be an effort to remove tears from the face that until now has impassively stared at the lawyers, jury, and audience in his first-degree murder trial.
"The alcohol got a hold of you?" a detective can be heard asking after the big reveal which came about 35 minutes after Huguely's interrogation began.
"She's not dead," Huguely frequently says on the tape which began rolling around 7:52am on May 3, 2010, the day Huguely's badly injured former girlfriend was found unresponsive on the bed of her 14th Street apartment.
"I want to see her," demands Huguely. "I don't believe she's dead. You guys said she had a black eye and a bump on her head."
"Let's calm down," says Charlottesville Police Detective Lisa Reeves as Huguely continues to repeat– perhaps as many as 30 times– some permutation of "She's not dead."
"There's no way," he says, "that anything that happened last night could kill her."
However, the tape also revealed a pile of potential problems for Huguely's credibility. For starters, he blamed any head injuries on Love banging her own head against a wall of her bedroom. He also says he'd never threatened her.
Later, when asked if he'd taken anything from her room, he first answers no, but when confronted about the laptop computer whose case and cord were found in the apartment, he admits he took it as "collateral." Asked where he was keeping the collateral, he finally reveals that he'd tossed it in a nearby dumpster.
Later, Huguely can be heard telling the investigators– who had already surmised what the state medical examiner determined: that Love died from blunt-force trauma– that when he left, "She was standing up looking at me."
But most of the audio after the big reveal was just Huguely.
"How? How? How?" he asks. "No! No! No!" he says. Eventually, his salvo of I-know-she's-not-deads turns into an unintelligible jumble of whimpering and sobbing.
"Tell me she's not dead– please," Huguely implores. "She's alive; she has to be."
Told again that the 22-year-old Love is dead, he exclaims, "Oh, my God," and what sounds like: "Kill me."
As this blubbering played out in the Charlottesville courtroom, Huguely– dressed in a grey sportcoat that fit more snugly the voluminous navy blue he wore during his first appearance– kept his chin down, took a sip from a foam water cup, and continued to rub his eyes. In front of him, members of the Love family dabbed their own eyes.
Conspicuously absent from this pathetic scene were George Huguely IV and Marta Murphy, both of whom are defense witnesses.
Earlier on the tape, before the dramatic denouement, Huguely walked the detective through his version of the fateful evening's events which began with four or five beers on a golf course and included two glasses of wine at dinner.
"After dinner," he says, "I probably had five drinks of vodka."
Huguely repeatedly tells his interrogators– unseen to the gallery but visible to the defendant, lawyers, jury, and judge– that he simply wants to talk to his "former girlfriend," as he described her.
"I sent like six emails saying let's talk, and she didn't respond," Huguely says.
"I was more emotional than I was angry," he explains of his demeanor when he enters her room, which he says was lit only by streetlamps beaming in through a bay window.
"It was not at all a good conversation," Huguely reports. "She's freaking out just seeing me there. I'm like, 'What the hell; we're just gonna talk."
Huguely admits on the tape that he probably woke Love from a slumber.
"I just want to talk to her," he repeatedly tells Detective Reeves. "I was like 'Yeardley, chill out,' and shook her."
And yet even after admitting to that, he seems unable to keep his story straight.
"I never touched her or struck her or anything," Huguely tells Reeves mere minutes after conceding that he might have pushed her arms, might have touched her neck, and that the two definitely ended up on the floor.
"We were like wrestling around," says Huguely, "and that's when her nose started bleeding."
So how did he leave her?
"I tossed her," Huguely says. "I pushed her on the bed. I was like, 'Go to bed.'"
The only other witness to testify Friday morning was cardiac pathologist Renu Virnani, who told the court, "There was nothing wrong with Love's heart that would have led to her death."
Although no transcript of the interrogation video was provided, members of the media expressed astonishment at the repetitive nature of Huguely's utterances, as if he were having trouble understanding the situation– or, in a less charitable assessment– buying time.
Told that he's about to be arrested, Huguely responds once again by asking, "She's dead?" then muttering, "Help."
In the final minutes of the tape, he says three times in a row: "There's no way." Four times in a row he says: "I know she's not dead." Three times he sobs, "Oh my God." And, shortly before investigators turn off their camera: "I did not kill her, I did not kill her, I did not kill her. I did not kill her."
Forensic Detective Mike Flaherty took the witness stand for the afternoon session, and identified pictures of the crime scene, from mundane kitchen counters to Love's bloody body on the floor of her bedroom. "Here are the broken pieces of her door inside her room," he narrated. "At this point her feet have been bagged," he said of another photo.
"That's a close up of Yeardley Love," he said. "Her left eye is open. Her right eye is swollen shut." Other photos detailed red stains on her neck, on her chin, with abrasions surrounded by contusions under the center line, and the red stains on the back of her left hand.
Because of those wounds, Flaherty went around her room and examined her dresser, bay window, desk, and bedside table, and said after photos of each one, "No evidence of impact."
An off-white discoloration on the bedroom wall drew Flaherty's attention. "I didn't know what it was," he said, and swabbed the wall.
Throughout the photo tour of Love's room, evidence of a well-organized young woman emerged. Her clothes were "neatly folded" in her dresser drawers, said Flaherty, and her desk was "orderly," with "neatly stacked items."
Flaherty noted in pictures of Love's bathroom a slightly crushed Natural Light can, and the upraised seat and lid of the toilet.
Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman introduced into evidence items that had been described throughout the trial. He and a police officer held up Love's green comforter and her sheets with holes where the bloodstains had been cut out because those items were too big to send to a lab.
Brown paper evidence bags were opened with her pillow case and it elongated stains, her laptop case with a red stain, and her yellow North Face backpack, which had contained an empty Adderall prescription bottle. A piece of her bedroom wall was admitted as evidence, as was a letter from Huguely found in her desk drawer.
Throughout the trial, the oft-mentioned kicked-in door to Love's bedroom has been wrapped in brown paper and leaning against the wall of the courtroom. It was unveiled, and Flaherty said it was upside down. When it was flipped, an audible "oh" was heard in the media room where reporters saw a hole the size of a basketball up around door knob level.
It remained leaning against the wall of the courtroom, its gaping hole testament to the violence that entered Yeardley Love's bedroom that night.
–story updated 2:45pm Friday
– updated 5:05pm with additional reporting by Lisa Provence
–updated 7:44am Saturday with audio reenactment of tape (near top, under photo)