Purse-smack: Friends saw Love and Huguely argue days before her death
In the days before the brutal May 3 slaying of UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love, she and her former boyfriend George Huguely had an argument in his apartment that ended with Love hitting Huguely with her purse, according to statements from a Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sister who was there.
The contents of Love's purse scattered, and later–- once Love realized her camera and cellphone were missing–- she asked her friend to go back to Huguely's to retrieve them. The friend returned with only the camera, according to heavily redacted affidavits for warrants to search the two computers recovered in Huguely's apartment at 230 14th NW for stored–- or deleted–- emails referring to Love between April 3 and May 3.
The warrants were filed August 17, and Judge Paul Peatross ordered them temporarily sealed. Only redacted versions of the affidavits have been released.
Among the information blacked out are the names of at least two of Love's friends, who recounted hearing about an email Huguely sent Love. One of the friends was in a hotel room in Chicago with Love, who read it to her. Apparently the email was so gripping that Love read it to her friend out loud again the next day. The UVA women's lacrosse team played Northwestern April 30, three days before Love was killed inside her own apartment.
Fragmentary details of the email were recovered from a third computer, this one a Dell belonging to Love which was found in a dumpster on Sadler Street, a road that crosses 14th Street aside Camden Courtyard, the multi-building apartment complex that housed both Huguely and Love at the time of the slaying.
Huguely, now living in the local jail and charged with first-degree murder, allegedly admitted to police that he'd swiped Love's computer from her apartment after kicking in the door of her bedroom and slamming her head repeatedly into the wall. Love, found face down on her bed in a pool of blood, died from blunt force trauma, according to the state medical examiner. ("An accident with a tragic outcome," according to Huguely attorney Fran Lawrence.)
Love's mother, Sharon Love, gave authorities permission to search her daughter's computer.
While the email quotations are redacted on the search warrant, police contend they're evidence of the prior fight in which Love smacked Huguely with her purse.
The killing of fourth-year Love just three weeks before graduation and the charges against her former boyfriend rocked the University of Virginia and focused national attention on domestic violence. Now, new President Teresa Sullivan has called for a day of dialogue on violence prevention September 24.
"After the news of Yeardley Love's death reached me in Ann Arbor last May," she recently wrote to faculty and staff, "I began to think ahead to joining the University of Virginia community and about what we as a community could learn from this horrific event and how we might begin to identify the characteristics of a caring community, one whose members recognize their mutual responsibility for each other."
As for Huguely, the 22-year-old from Chevy Chase, Maryland, continues to occupy a segregated four-by-eight-foot cell at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, where he's been held since May 3. His visitors are not restricted, and his family has visited him, says the jail's superintendent, Colonel Ron Matthews.
"He's not causing any problem," says Matthews, who reports that Huguely is taken out for recreation at least three times a week. "When he goes, it's by himself."
The former lacrosse player is segregated from the general population because the case's notoriety might jeopardize his safety, says Matthews. "Occasionally you might have someone with feelings for the victim, or they want to get their name in the paper," he explains.
Otherwise, those in segregation are treated no differently from other inmates. And, says Matthews, Huguely "has not been on suicide watch since he's been here."
Huguely's preliminary hearing is set for October 8.