Blunt force: Documents claim Huguely bloodied and tossed Yeardley Love
Two months after the bloody, pre-graduation death of UVA student Yeardley Love, newly released documents suggest that accused killer and fellow fourth-year student George W. Huguely V knew he had injured his 22-year-old former girlfriend because, he allegedly told police, he saw blood coming from her nose before throwing her on her bed. And days before those chilling details, the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed what the earliest reports suggested: that blunt force trauma to the young woman's head was the cause of her death.
The revelations–- including the fact that police found Huguely's passport inside a pair of his cargo shorts–- run counter to what Huguely's lawyer has termed "an accident with a tragic outcome" and bolster the state's murder case against the scion of a prominent Washington family who allegedly told police he repeatedly slammed Love's head into a wall during an "altercation."
The documents, released July 8 by Judge John J. McGrath Jr., include affidavits and search warrant inventories previously sealed until several media organizations–- the Daily Progress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Washington Post, and the AP–- pressed the Charlottesville Circuit Court to unseal them.
Left sealed, however, are warrants for email and cellphone records, as well as the names of witnesses, Huguely's Social Security number, and "item number one" on the inventory of things removed from the black 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe registered to Huguely's father, which were redacted from the documents.
Huguely, who like Love was a lacrosse player, is charged with first-degree murder in her death, which rocked UVA's class of 2010 and caused the outgoing president to conduct public meetings and condolences. Even before release of the bleeding nose detail, documents suggested Huguely knew Love was injured and didn't call for help. Defense attorneys have portrayed Huguely's case as an uphill battle–- one compounded by a 2008 arrest in Lexington in which Huguely was reportedly so intoxicated that he didn't remember resisting arrest, threatening an officer, or getting Tased. Huguely's lawyer, Fran Lawrence, did not immediately respond to a reporter's call.
As previously reported, Love's roommates called 911 after finding her face down on her bed in a pool of blood early on May 3. When rescue workers and police were called to Love's apartment–- number 9 at 222 14th Street NW–- they tried life-saving procedures to no avail, and she was pronounced dead at the scene, according to one affidavit. Police officers described a large bruise on the right side of Love's face, her right eye swollen shut, as well as scrapes and bruises on her chin. A warrant notes a hole in the door to her bedroom that appeared made by a fist, and that the door appeared to have been kicked in.
While he was in police custody, investigators took hair samples from Huguely's legs, fingernail scrapings from both hands, as well as a black t-shirt he was wearing with a police logo on front and back, brown flip-flops, blue Nike shorts, $3 in U.S. currency, and a set of keys. A search warrant of Huguely's body also ordered x-rays of both hands to be conducted at the UVA Medical Center, as well as a doctor's examination of visible injuries on his body.
During the search of Huguely's apartment at 230 14th Street NW, just a few doors down from Love's, police recovered the shorts he was said to be wearing during the incident. In the pockets, his passport and keys to the Tahoe were found, according to an affidavit. If he were planning to flee the country, the $3 found in his pocket wouldn't have gotten him very far, and neither the affidavits nor the inventories mention any credit cards or wallet.
A white UVA lacrosse t-shirt with a red stain was taken from Huguely's apartment. So were a green spiral notebook, two white Apple laptop computers, and a letter–- contents unknown–- addressed to Yeardley Love. According to a previously released affidavit, Huguely told police he'd exchanged emails with Love and took her laptop. He told investigators where to find it, but it's unclear if the one recovered in his apartment is hers. "No property belonging to Love was recovered during the search of Huguely's apartment," states a May 6 affidavit.
In one of the more puzzling details, Huguely allegedly told police that Love was wearing a black t-shirt and panties as he slammed her head into a wall of her bedroom. But when police found her, she was wearing underwear only, and a warrant affidavit issued on May 7 sought to recover the t-shirt that showed up in crime photos on the floor of Love's bedroom about two feet from her body. But the inventory of the resulting search does not list the t-shirt as being recovered.
It turns out that detectives neglected to take the shirt before custody of the apartment was turned over to Love's family, who picked up the shirt, according to City spokesperson Ric Barrick, who released a statement on the matter on the afternoon of July 9. According to Barrick's release, the family promptly turned the shirt over to investigators who will send the garment to the State Lab in Richmond for testing.
Taken from the Tahoe were handwritten notes, a Canon digital camera, and a Verizon LG flip phone, according to one warrant. But the initial inventory of Love's apartment portrays a grimmer scene: sheets, pillow, pillowcase, comforter, towels, bed skirt, and two different swabs from walls–- all stained red. Police also collected the kicked-in door to Love's bedroom, her purses, mobile phones, camera, a note in the desk drawer... and a golf tee.
Huguely reportedly had played golf that afternoon at Farmington Country Club.
–story updated 2:37pm with paragraph clarifying what happened to the black t-shirt