Charlottesville Breaking News

Missing Huguelys: And other damaging would-be witnesses

There couldn't have been a more critical moment in the life of George W. Huguely V, and one of his parents wasn't there to see it.

After a trial that lasted more than two weeks and jury deliberations that spanned more than nine hours, at just before 6:45pm on Wednesday, February 21, a light-bulb signaling a verdict illuminated, prompting a panicked flurry of tweets from reporters and bringing courtwatchers scurrying back to Charlottesville Circuit Court....

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Staved off: Cracker Barrel bypasses Fifth Street

The red dirt out by the Holiday Inn on Fifth Street has recently been raising some eyebrows. But what won't be raised anytime soon is the developer's intended target: the combination southern foodery and gift shop concept that has over 600 locations in 42 states.

"Cracker Barrel was supposed to go there," says developer Katurah Roell. "But they decided Charlottesville was not enough town for them. They said college towns don't normally perform well for them."

Roell, perhaps best known as the man proposing a Downtown Mall-sized complex in downtown Crozet, says he spent six months negotiating with Cracker Barrel and getting positive signals from County government before the company took a pass.

"We have locations in college towns across the country," says Cracker Barrel spokesperson Jeanne Ludington naming such celebrated cities as State College, Gainesville, Bloomington, and Madison. Home to Randolph College, Liberty University, and the appropriately named Lynchburg College, the Virginia college city of Lynchburg also has a Cracker Barrel.

While declining to reveal reasons for passing any particular site, Ludington noted such factors as visibility, access, pricing, and proximity to existing Cracker Barrel...

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Huguely convicted: Jury gives him 26 years in killing

Judge Edward Hogshire is pushing forward with a night-time sentencing phase, after jurors in the 2010 killing of 22-year-old Yeardley Love returned a conviction for 2nd degree murder Tuesday night.

The verdict came around 6:46pm February 22, after a trial that lasted more than two weeks. The jury additionally convicted the former lacrosse player Huguely of grand larceny.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg pronounced himself unsurprised by the verdict which he said seemed to match the evidence.

"That's pretty consistent with what I expected," says Heilberg. "You have to look at circumstantial evidence. Breaking down the door and leaving her helpless until she died wouldn't be a manslaughter."

So why not first degree? "It just doesn't appear that they proved a specific int...

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Case closed: Abductor never found, public never warned

Eight months after an Albemarle County woman reported getting abducted from her home and being forced to drive at gunpoint some 300 miles down the Blue Ridge Parkway, authorities aren't close to an arrest– in fact, they've stopped looking.

"A thorough investigation by our office was conducted, which included multiple interviews," writes FBI spokesperson Dee Rybiski in an email. "Unfortunately, the investigation and information provided failed to develop any viable leads or identify any potential suspects."

The details of the the June 23, 2011 incident may have been hazy, but they were terrifying.

The then-42-year-old woman– a nurse named Kelly Porterfield– described her gun-wielding kidnapper as slim and short, wearing a mask and sunglasses, according to a news report at the time. The report noted that Porterfield was held captive in her red Honda Odyssey minivan all the way to an overlook in the mountains of North Carolina. When the alleged assailant took her into a forest, Porterfield somehow freed herself and found assistance from a passerby.

While authorities conducted an extensive search of the mountainous, wooded area in which Porterfield reportedly escaped an abductor's clutches, they came up empty-handed, and one North Carolina investigator suggested there might be more to the story.

"We're not sure how valid this claim is," Parkway Chief Ranger Steve Stinnett told ...

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Bully buster? VQR spurs UVA launch of 'respectful workplace'

A year-and-a-half after the suicide of the Virginia Quarterly Review's managing editor Kevin Morrissey launched a national debate about whether it was the scene of workplace bullying, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan has launched the Respect@UVA program, a comprehensive workplace initiative designed to promote "kindness, dignity and respect."

But one workplace bullying expert thinks the reforms announced February 15 don't go far enough.

Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, contends that bullying should be put in the context of real violence to avoid letting programs like this get "shackled by all its shortcomings."

In addition to educational resources, the UVA program includes a new complaint reporting system designed to allow employees to air grievances without fear of retaliation from their superiors, as well as a commitment to follow up within two business days.

"As president, I will hold myself accountable to the Commitment to a Caring Community," Sullivan says in statement, "and I will expect all leaders at all levels of the University to do the same. We will not tolerate retaliation against an employee who reports an incident."

As the...

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