The Huguely tape: Court finally allows glimpses of evidence

During his trial, spectators could hear George Huguely's interview with police in which he went from matter-of-fact discussion of Yeardley Love "freaking out" to near hysteria and denial after getting told she was dead. In that same courtroom more than two months later, after several media organizations pressed for release of the trial evidence, the public on the morning of May 15 was finally allowed to see the video recording of Huguely.

A couple dozen people, mostly reporters, gathered in Charlottesville Circuit Court to see the one-hour police interview, nearly 200 photos, and about 30 slides of documentation that were difficult to read unless sitting on the front row to better understand what happened before Love was found dead in her 14th Street bedroom early May 3, 2010.

Judge Edward Hogshire did not allow release of any photos of Love's body, nor were any recording devices allowed in the courtroom. In February, Huguely was convicted of second-degree murder with a recommended 26-year prison sentence for the 2010 killing. He faces formal sentencing August 30.

Huguely's police interview starts around 7:53am in a small interview room when Huguely signs a release saying he's been advised of his rights. He's sitting in the far corner of the room, trapped behind a rectangular table up against the wall, wearing a Police band t-shirt and an expression that seems to say, I'm really hung over and why am I here?

In a low-yet-nasal voice reminiscent of James Spader's preppy character in Pretty in Pink, Huguely recounts his past 24 hours. He demonstrates certain parts of his narrative: "She was hitting her head," while banging his own on the nearby wall. "She was freaking out."

He takes a sip of his coffee and says, "She kept hitting her head. I never hit her in the face."

Huguely describes Love as "flopping like a fish out of water." He insists he just wants to talk to her. "She's like"– he pauses as he shivers in imitation of Love– "get away from me."

"I may have grabbed her a little by the neck," Huguely volunteers while miming a loose-gripped choke for Detective Lisa Reeves. "I never strangled her."

Huguely recounts Love's visit to his apartment a week earlier, during which she was "totally freaking out," and hitting him in the face. He tells the initially sympathetic-sounding Detective Reeves that the romance broke up because Love wanted to go to New York after graduation and he to San Francisco.

But Huguely seems unable to halt his tale of the break-up, and, unprompted, describes how Love went to "Carolina" a week earlier. Love, according to Huguely, accused him of being violent and told him she's slept with someone else.

In Huguely's narrative, Love too is violent, having hit him in the head when she comes to his apartment and trying to push him out of her bedroom after he'd kicked the door in. "I just want to talk to you," he insists he told Love.

Huguely seems unaware of how detectives might feel when hearing an over-200-pound man describe "wrestling" on the floor with a woman half his size and seemingly oblivious to the coldness of the assertions: "I tossed her on the bed. She had a bloody nose."

At the same time, he reiterates, "I never struck her." And he shows Reeves scrapes and cuts on his hands and legs. "That's all from lacrosse," he says.

Fifty minutes into the interview, Reeves tells Huguely Love is dead.

"She's dead?" he asks. He stares. He puts his hands on the back of his head, and then under his chin. "How the f*ck is she dead?"

He puts his head down on the table. "She's dead?" he repeats in seeming disbelief. "How?"

"That's why you killed her, because she hooked up with another player," says the detective. "You're here because she's dead."

Huguely reacts like a person in shock, and denies– repeatedly, dozens of times– that she's dead, and maintains that he did nothing to seriously hurt her.

"She's not dead," he protests. "She had a black eye."

Next, he accuses the detectives of lying to him.

"There's no way," he says over and over. He stamps his feet, insisting, "I didn't murder her." He puts his head back on the table, sobbing and sniffling. "She's not dead," he says again as the tape plays on.

As for the photographs, those bits of evidence begin with the Love sisters, Lexie and Yeardley. One from Love's apartment shows a living room decorated with posters of Audrey Hepburn and vintage French advertising.

Her room is neat and clothes are visible. A black and white sweater is draped across a chair. Other garments are pink and red. A computer cord snakes across the floor. Photographs of friends occupy a wall around her bed, and there's one of Love and her sister Lexie on the bedside table. A turquoise bracelet, candle, and lighter are on the same table.

It looks like a typical college-aged young woman's apartment, except for the angry, dark-red stain in the middle of the green pillow on her bed.

The evidentiary photos include Huguely, shackled and wearing flipflops, with rulers beside the scrapes on his leg that look suspiciously like leftovers from kicking in a door.

Photos of his apartment show a fondness for Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead. Empty beer cans and bottles crowd a coffee table.

Huguely's bedroom isn't neat like Love's. Clothes are piled on the floor and spill out of drawers. A remote control, lighter, and pen lie on his tousled bed.

Exhibits of texts show Huguely's unsuccessful attempts to entice other young women that night, the last one around 11:22pm on May 2– shortly before he headed over to Love's apartment.

Thirty slides of trial evidentiary documents were shown for a maddeningly slow minute each for less interesting items like the receipt for Love's Dell laptop.

The same minute flew by on the single screen that showed all the April 30 emails between Huguely and Love, with a reporter able to scribble mere fragments:

She: "Not everything is about you."

She: "You were trying to hook up with Stephanie."

He: "A week ago you said you'd get back together with me and I stop drinking and you hook up with Burns. How f*cked up is that?"

The public gets another chance to see the evidence on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 16.

This story is a part of the Huguely trial coverage special.

51 comments

and the point of this is?

Deleted by moderator.

Who really gives a flaming eff? Sentence the jerk and put him away.

Yeardley was no skank !
We care and aparently so did the jury !

Thanks Lisa

Can't wait for The Hook to expose more and inform us on hopefully a muli-million judgement against each party! The resignation of many Atheletic department people and the Coaches!

Skank? Who are you to judge? You are in sore need of some class.

Just a thought, but could it be that Huguely was framed?

I have been reading far too much about this case, but I still have so many questions. I am grateful to Sharon Love for suing the coaches and the university, because I want to know what these men were thinking, why they did not step in, what part of "in loco parentis" they do not understand -- and why new contracts were issued to men who know that 8 other lax players have also been charged with crimes committed under the influence of drugs, including alcohol. But I was hoping to learn -- through detailed descriptions of this police interview -- why GH did not seem to know that punching YL in the face, grabbing her neck, shaking her, and smashing her head into a wall would kill her. Why? How can he not know that she surely must be badly hurt if not dead. He seems to remember many other details about that night, so it seems as though he was not in a blackout. How can he not know that she is dead? How can he not fear that she is at least gravely injured?

If anything George didn't learn from his two prior arrests it's this: don't talk to cops. I'm surprised his lawyers aren't suing the Charlottesville police for entrapment. Did they inform Huguely why they were bringing him in that morning?

Katey Sue -- The prevailing rule today is that institutions of higher education NO LONGER act in loco parentis to their students. Students, from freshmen through seniors, are considered adults, and universities no longer have special, parental-type duties toward the students. In fact, the first of many hurdles for the plaintiffs in the suit you reference will be to establish that the Commonwealth/University and the named coaches had a duty to Ms. Love that extended to her private social relationships, off campus and outside school hours.

Two other problems with your analysis -- 1.) It has been widely reported, and it may have even come out in the criminal trial that Mrs. Love knew of at least one of her daughter's prior altercations with GH -- the choking incident -- yet she never contacted the police, the university or anyone else to report it or any fears she had for her daughter's safety. How can you or anyone else argue with a straight face that the University or the coaches had a higher responsibility to protect YL than her mother. 2.) your curiosity (or that of the Love family) is NOT a legitimate basis for filing a lawsuit. As litigious as the American public has become, one still isn't allowed to put someone through the pain and expense of a lawsuit just because someone feels "entitled" to information -- no matter how sympathetic the plaintiff is.

For more comments on the civil lawsuits, you might want to read the comments under the The Hook's three prior stories on them. So far, your views are in the minority on the propriety of the suit against the coaches, et al. Moreover, not only is your comment about the prior alcohol offenses of the UVa lacrosse players misleading, it is really incorrect -- some players in the recent past were alleged to have committed alcohol violations -- i.e., were caught drinking underage and the like. No matter what your views are on underage drinking, fake ID's, etc., the charges (and, as I recall not all charges resulted in convictions) were not for committing "crimes" while under the influence.

As to the state of Huguely's knowledge of Ms. Love's condition at the beginning of the questioning, you are making assumptions about the altercation that were not proven, e.g., that he punched her. The autopsy photos have not been released, but from juror's accounts they are quite gruesome. However, most times bruising, etc. appears far worse later, than immediately after the injury. Accordingly, I don't find it at all difficult to believe that the guy so drunk at midnight he was still slurring his words at 6:30 AM (when the questioning started), did not understand the true nature of Ms. Love's injuries when he left the apartment. I am not condoning his actions at all, mind you.

Thanks to An Observer -- I appreciate the distinctions you are making. It's not of concern to me that my views are not widely shared as I am not of this current generation nor from Virginia or even the East Coast. I don't think that I have the wrong impression about UVA's lacrosse players, though. From what I have learned, "Sunday Funday" seems to guarantee that most of them are drunk as lords at least every weekend if not many other nights throughout the week. Sad. My dad had a little rhyme that explained this boorish country club behavior: "Good looks, education, and money are often wasted on the slow. So, all things in moderation, honey -- and moderation is the first to go." Mr. Observer, you did not explain how a 6'2" drunken lout could smash the face of a 5'4" woman without knowing it would result in serious injury for the woman. How could he not know that he had seriously hurt her?

I have not read accounts of his interview that indicate GH is slurring his words. As described, he seems to be pretty well put-together. One site mentions that the police leave him unattended for several moments during which he picks his nose, stares, passes the time without apparent agitation. There is no proof of him punching her in the face? Really? I do not think there is any way YL could have given herself a black eye (which Huguely himself mentions) or hit herself in the eye so hard that it was swollen shut (as a juror who saw the photos described). GH, with 209 lbs, behind him, gave her 117-lb. frame a beat-down and yet he seems not to know that she is even hurt. It's amazing.

Katey - you are of course entitled to your own opinions. But, not your own version of the facts.

As to the slurring, see the story in the Charlottesville daily newspaper, The Daily Progress. Since you found The Hook from outside Virginia or "even the East Coast," you should be able to find the DP story. Even though "you are not of this current generation," you seem to be pretty good with the internet.

Entrapment? Wha??

I do not condone GH actions at all. He is a violent and abusive man with a drinking problem. But I do believe it is possible for an extremely intoxicated 200+ lb violent and abusive man to be so drunk to have not fully comprehend or process the extent of the damage he did to her. He was a big dumb animal that night. It's tragic and so awful that he could have just called 911 and she would have likely lived. He was a rough man who was rough with women when drunk. Despite that, no way did he want her dead.

Katey Sue, Not saying he didn't necessarily do so, but there are a number of ways to get a black eye without having been punched.

Hope for Yeardley - But I do believe it is possible for an extremely intoxicated 200+ lb violent and abusive man to be so drunk to have not fully comprehend or process the extent of the damage he did to her. - While this may be true, please clarify that you are not trying to make an excuse for him...thus your comment of "I do not condone GH actions at all." Being drunk is no excuse for any bad action.

Opps, sorry Hope for Yeardley, I just saw the above post you were referring to....Gallipoli1915 apparently didn't read the article in which the video tape stated he was advised of his rights.

Really?!?!?! "there are a number of ways to get a black eye without having been punched." Really?!?!? I am not an experienced bruiser, but I'm at a loss for alternate realities that explain the damaged eye, damaged eye socket -- indeed, the battered face of Yeardley Love that was described by a juror who said he would never be able to forget that image.And being as drunk as others say would mean that GH would not have been able to return to his apartment and lie to his buddies about where he had been nor would he have been able to estimate how long it took to beat her to death -- 8 to 10 minutes, it coincides with every other timeline I have been able to find -- being as drunk as some claim he was would mean that he would not have the crystal clear recall that he seems to have. I'll agree that GH may not have planned to kill YL, but he did think there was nothing wrong with giving her a brutal beating. "Drunken lacrosse player" is not a defense. Given what we have all learned about UVAs lacrosse players, drinking is a way of life. They build tolerance through practice, practice, practice. GH was a skilled drinker, more skilled than most. No, soothsayer, there are not many other ways to achieve YL's battered face beyond the application of a fist.

Hi Onwidit, no worries, and to clarify, no way do I give him an excuse. I was responding to the question / comments Katey Sue and others have around "how did he not know the damage?!?"...I'll tell you how, because his brain was completely soaked to the core with alcohol.

His actions caused her death and for that he should be held responsible, but her death was not premeditated.

Katey Sue,
Have you ever met or spoken with a UVA lacrosse player? Have you ever even talked with someone who has? Or do you just form all your opinions about UVA lacrosse players past and present from online articles you've read about the Huguely trial?
I would respectfully suggest that you have no freaking idea what you are talking about.

Agreed. Yeardley Love's death does not seem to have been premeditated by her killer, George Huguely, although he seems to be undisturbed by any pangs of remorse for the beating he serveded to her. From the accounts I have read, he seems to be secure in his perceived entitlement to beat her, and he seems to be fairly confident that the authorities will believe that she hit her own head, blacked her own eye, and harmed HIM by shoving him into a wall! And what about the horrifying incident of her flinging a purse at him? GAH! She probably mussed his hair up good with that resounding blow.She really had it coming, huh?

Go home and sleep it off, Vaughn. Don't beat up your girlfriend on the way out, OK?

Katey, I do not agree that he had "crystal clear" recall. From the interrogation scripts I've seen, George was rambling, being liberal with some details while glossing over other details of the night. I am guessing he was still fairly intoxicated from the day prior (how I wish we could find out if they tested his alcohol level!!)
I also don't think he thought there was "nothing wrong" with giving her a brutal beating - his statements clearly make an attempt to downplay the force he used and his involvement with her injuries (accusing her of banging head, fish out of water, etc.) The guy was clearly not aware of how badly he injured her and fudging the story to make himself look better.
And one more thing, not sure what you mean by skilled drinker, but given his history with alcohol I would say he was decidedly NOT skilled at drinking - it caused him and others a lot of trouble, and it cost Yeardley her life.

So because I dont believe that all UVA lacrosse players are drunken louts who beat women it makes me a drunken lout who beats women? Very open-minded of you.
Like I said, you have no idea what you are talking about.

My apologies for missing the part about the rights. Hope for Yeardley, I was merely speculating. Of course GH was grossly out of line and in need of serious help.

Vaugh, I have no way of knowing who you are and you have no way of knowing who I am but -- as you meant to point out, perhaps -- words and actions paint a picture of a person's character. Reading about UVA's lacross players has been intriguing -- the ritual drinking at Boylan Heights, the drinking and golfing with dads at the country club, the late-night beer runs after a full day and evening of drinking. Oh, and the other UVA lacrosse players who were involved in incidents fueled by drinking. Oh, and the drinking and other seamy incidents involving the prep schools that feed players to the University of Virginia. It seemed to me, reading from this distance, that theculture of the UVA lacrosse team is heavily steeped in drinking. Vaughn, I'm a middle class person who grew up with parental lectures about controlling myself for good behavior, treating other people respectfully, meeting personal obligations to every group with which I am affiliated. It has struck me as odd that UVA's lacrosse team does not seem to know that their own reputations are affected by the people they hang around with. "Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas" as my mother used to say. The young men and women of UVA's lacrosse team seem to have been given every advantage in life -- George Huguely squandered his.Whether or not you are a lacrosse player, Vaughn, do not give GH an inch of comfort in your mind nor stoop to defend the indefensible. I have not seen the tape of his conversation with the police, but from what I have been able to learn, it does not seem that GH is feeling any guilt or remorse for the beating he knows he has given to the much smaller person, Yeardley Love. And, yes, from a distance, the drinking rituals of UVA lacrosse players look dirty and dangerous -- not that it matters what I think, Vaughn. I'm a total stranger to your world and your way of life, so I could never be included in a jury of your peers.

Not defending Huguely in any way. He's a despicable person. Just think you are painting with a very wide brush.
For the record, I'm middle-aged too and my athletic days are many years in the past. But I've had the privledge of interacting with a number of UVA lacrosse players over the last 20 years and the vast majority are nothing like what you are describing.

Well, take it up with the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun and The Hook and Time Magazine -- and the players themselves because nobody made up these stories out of whole cloth. As I said, I had a middle class upbringing pre-Title IX -- no prep schools for me, no scholarships to play a game that nobody else can even play, no nannies coming between my children and the big, wide world that has harshly judged many others for much smaller offenses. It is surprising to me that the lacrosse team thinks that the rest of us will not think less of them for the disgusting milieu they have created among themselves.Maybe they'll make adjustments when other people stop apologizing for them.

How many UVA lacrosse graduates end up working for the Secret Service I wonder...

Exactly, Gallipoli1915.

Katey Sue -- I am glad you are proud of your middle class up-bringing, probably like most of us commenting here, but you sure are quick to stereotype.

As Vaughn pointed out and you essentially admit, you have NO PERSONAL knowledge about UVa Lacrosse or lacrosse in general. In fact, I bet you have no personal knowledge about UVa, either. Yet you have obviously formed opinions about them based solely on what you read on-line. Really?? Most of my comments regarding the case have been attempts to correct wrong or incomplete reporting on the facts of this tragedy or on the applicable laws. Every medium I have read has been guilty of that.

As to Huguely's contrition or lack thereof -- you have no knowledge on that, either.

You don't know, for example, that lacrosse is the fasted growing sport in the country -- it's biggest growth is west of Mississippi. Or that in many of the hotbeds of the sport you are as likely to find plumbers' and firemen's sons and daughters playing the game as trust fund babies.

As I stated before, you are entitled to your opinions, even it they are misguided, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Dear observer, I've cited my sources, now you cite your souces and after I check them out I'll believe you.Without them, I'll continue to believe what reputable online newspapers and journals have already reported: lacrosse is a sport for spoiled rich kids, of whom GH is just the saddest example.

Lacrosse is a richboy sport. It's like rugby: violence played by gentlemen

Kately -- your last post showed nothing more than a small mind. Good luck to you.

Here -- I'll let a professional like Katie Baker, who writes sports news over at Deadspin, handle it: http://deadspin.com/5530777/by-virtue-not-by-force-are-the-white-boys-of... (I don't think The Hook's rules allow me to post the final word, which rhymes with "sticks") As I say, it's not my world and I thank god for that. Interesting that I am singled out as small minded while the poster "Friedrich Nietzsche" dismisses lacrosse players more soundly than I do -- but Katey Sue is a woman's handle and women are not allowed to talk back to lacrosse boyz.

Sorry Katey -- FN is small-minded, too. As is anyone else who lacks personal knowledge and engages in stereotyping.

And, BTW, there you go again falsely relying on your narrow world view -- I am a woman . . . .

Nietzsche once said "God is Dead." I've news for him: "Nietzsche is Dead." - God

How can god tell?

Well he did come back from the dead didn't he?

There YOU go again, Observer, falsely relying on your own small world view. BTW -- have you any sources for your claims regarding the new, open spirit of lacrosse or are you relying on those brochures from the alumni association?

Who? Nietzsche?

No, Jesus Christ (aka God)

Why are people making this case a source for sociology?

Katey -- those who know the sport, and you clearly do NOT, have laughed about that Youtube video for years. It is certainly an indictment of you that you can't identify parody. But wait, the parody supports your opinion of lacrosse -- a sport you had never even heard of until you became infatuated with this tragic, yet salacious case.

But your feigned interest in hearing facts that counter your opinions, is belied by your failure to note positive articles on lacrosse that you must have run across on the journey that led you to Branford W.

Try googling "lacrosse fastest growing sport." If you actually take the time to read reports that don't support your view, you should come across one from the NYT on March 20, 2010. It includes the following quote:

"Varsity lacrosse has another potential benefit. According to the N.C.A.A., among freshmen entering school from 1999 to 2002, the graduation rate of lacrosse players was the highest among 17 men’s sports and tied for second with gymnastics — behind skiing at No. 1 — among 18 women’s sports."

Another search for your edification should include: "Inner city youth lacrosse programs."

Happy reading. Hope you're big enough to admit you learned something.

Why not make an analogy between lacrosse and the French Revolution of 1789? Circles, circles...

To say that something is "fast-growing" is meaningless. Even one lacrosse team in Kansas would be a 100% increase -- fast-growing indeed. "Inner city youth lacrosse programs" = scarce federal dollars going to graduates of UVA to stay involved in lacrosse. Not impressive. Why not admit that lacrosse is a sport for cossetted children of the rich, as Katie Baker notes in her article for Deadspin?

Someone's been reading too much John Stuart Mill...

Katey -- thanks for providing the answer to my last point above. But then again, I knew what that answer would be . . . .

" the graduation rate of lacrosse players was the highest among 17 men’s sports and tied for second with gymnastics — behind skiing at No. 1 — among 18 women’s sports"

Well lets see, there are two a man and a woman that did NOT graduate from UVA men's and women's team as I oberve.

There are also many on the team that have voiced their concerns. I love LAX and played it. It is real Native American sports.

When the boosters and donors become REAL men and women and tell the UVA admin.that donations will stop if the sport is about win at all cost, then the sport can be in glory.

Coaches are supose to be mentors. Not like pro-athelets that will sometimes flat out say, they are not role models.

Coaches are suppose to educate men and women in how to live with the sport as a way to reinforce life in day to day world.

They sure preach that they are educators and have the best interest when recruiting.

So, I think a civil jury will hold the coahes and admin to the very highest level.

AND, George after waving his rights told the police he got his wounds playing lacrose. George opened the door! In these tapes, he seems to be saying he got whipped playing or practicing, so....

It is fair game, no pun!

Let him spew about UVA, he seems to be a stand up guy, right? NOT!

Yes, of course -- I totally thought the YouTube video was a documentary. Of course I did. You're always right, except when you're wrong. Again, Katie Baker from Deadspin on the socilogical make-up of lacrosse teams: http://deadspin.com/5530777/by-virtue-not-by-force-are-the-white-boys-of... "By Virtue, not Force" -- now, THAT's catchy.