Charlottesville Breaking News
By Jennifer Niesslein
At the Charlottesville Circuit courtroom, the jury box faces outward toward the audience. I sat in that jury box on the afternoon of February 7 as a potential juror for the George Huguely trial. Before me were the families of Huguely and Yeardley Love. All of them looked somber and grief-stricken, except Love’s sister. She stared hard at Huguely. The entire scene felt uncomfortably intimate, like crashing a stranger’s funeral. I didn’t know where to look.
Over 160 residents had been called for this trial. By the time the judge was ready to see my group, there were three slots in the jury pool of 28 left. The judge and clerk randomly selected a portion of us to be interviewed under oath. To my right was a woman I’d chatted with during the long wait. Her daughter had lived a block away from where Yeardley Love died, and on the morning before any details had been released about Love’s identity, this woman had been frantic until she spoke to her daughter. “I am not going to be on that jury,” she said as we waited. “I am not going to see those autopsy pictures.” Now she looked flushed.
The judge asked us a series of increasingly pointed questions. One woman knew the defense attorney well; she was dismissed. Some of us had experiences with violence. All of us had had media exposure to the case. Some of us said the exposure had led us to form an opinion. I was not one of those people.
Black and white
Obama may be the first African American president, but he's far from the only black man– or woman– to occupy the White House. Historian Clarence Lusane, program director for Comparative and Regional Studies at American University and author of The Black History of the White House, traces the history of race relations in America's most famous residence from the slaves who toiled for past presidents to the high level advisors who have claimed increasingly prominent roles in leading a country still divided over race.
February 17, The Miller Center, 11am, free
The dramatically different look of the on-trial George Huguely could stem from a lack of steroids behind bars, says Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, who cautions that his theory about the prohibited muscle-building compounds is pure speculation.
"The first thing that came to mind when I saw his appearance in court," says Heilberg, "was, 'Was he using steroids?'"
The images of Huguely that have long filled the public pages and airwaves show a lacrosse player who, according to his team roster, stood 6'2' and weighed 209 pounds. So the idea of any fight between such a towering, hulking Division I varsity athlete and a much smaller female in her bedroom has provoked widespread outrage.
Huguely should not have been using the muscle-building compounds because they're banned by most athletic organizations including the NCAA, which governs the University of Virginia's athletic team. Steroids have been linked to a variety of health effects including shrunken testicles and an increase in body hair.
More gravely, there's a negative side-effect that can affect those surrounding the user: "roid rage," an increase in aggression. Defendant Huguely has a history of alcohol misuse including a 2008 conviction for public drunkenness and resisting...