UVA Didn't Know About Slaying Supect's 2008 Alcohol Arrest

UVA slaying suspect led life of opportunity

By HANK KURZ JR. and DENA POTTER
|  Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 12:08 AM EDT
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<a title=University of Virginia officials address the media about the death of student Yeardley Love." />

University of Virginia officials address the media about the death of student Yeardley Love.

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The University of Virginia had not been informed of the previous arrest of a men's lacrosse player now accused in the slaying of member of the women's team, according to the university president.

"An episode of this kind, the loss of a student in this way, is both an agonizing thing for the family, and a challenge for every system of the university," John Casteen said. "There is no protocol to deal with this kind of death."

John Casteen addressed the media Wednesday on the slaying of Yeardley Love. George Huguely Jr. is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Huguely was arrested by police in Lexington in November 2008 after resisting arrest on public intoxication. Police said they used a stun gun to restrain him.

Casteen said there is a gap in the law regarding informing colleges and universities when students are arrested off campus.

Four years ago, Huguely's prep school lacrosse coaches looked at him and found an easygoing prankster with a lighthearted attitude and the skills to earn him a spot on one of the country's top college programs.

On Wednesday, police said they had looked in the University of Virginia senior's apartment and found a crimson-stained Cavaliers lacrosse jersey and a letter to the woman Huguely is accused of beating to death, a senior on UVA's women's team.

The arrest of Huguely and the death this week of Love, both 22, have struck the highly ranked teams as they prepare for the NCAA tournament and shaken some on the picturesque campus where students are studying for finals.

A memorial for Love was held on campus Wednesday night, and her funeral was set for Saturday in Maryland. Huguely remained jailed on a charge of first-degree murder.

Love's roommate and the roommate's boyfriend found her battered body early Monday. Police have said Huguely and Love were once involved in a relationship, but that it had ended. According to a search warrant affidavit, Huguely kicked in her bedroom door and told them her head hit a wall several times as he shook her.

"None of us would pretend to you that the description of Yeardley Love's body when the police entered the apartment is anything other than a constant image in our heads, that we all live with that," an emotional Casteen said. "And we have no apology for that, because she was and is our first responsibility -- our student."

Hugueley's attorney, Francis Lawrence, called Love's death an accident.

In court documents filed Wednesday, Charlottesville police said they took the stained jersey, the letter to Love and other items from Huguely's apartment hours after Love's body was discovered, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. The court records were later sealed.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Huguely was charged just days before he and Love were to graduate and play in the NCAA tournament for the Cavaliers, with both teams considered contenders for the national title.

Athletic Director Craig Littlepage said university officials had consulted members of both teams and Love's family before deciding to allow both teams to go ahead and compete in the NCAA tournament. He said Love's family was firmly behind the decision.

The opportunity to play for a national title seemed like a done deal for Huguely as far back as 2006, when he was the star player at the $28,826-a-year, all-boys Landon School in Bethesda, Md., which churns out players for top college programs like Virginia and Duke.

At Landon, Huguely once snatched coach Rob Bordley's car keys from the coach's office, drove around the school to where the coach was and talked with him from the driver's seat until it dawned on Bordley what had happened, according to a 2006 article in The Washington Post.

Bordley described the high-scoring Huguely then as Landon's premier player, with a top-notch attitude.

"He's always in an upbeat mood," Bordley said. "Nothing really fazes him. I've asked my assistant coaches if they've ever seen him rattled and they said no. He's just unflappable."

Two other accounts in the 2006 story referred to Huguely joking about women at lacrosse games. In one, he said he bet a Landon assistant coach that if he pulled off a big play by picking off a pass, the assistant coach's fiancée would kiss him. Huguely made the play, then asked the assistant coach for the woman's number.

He also cracked wise about "a good-looking EMT" who treated him in 2005 for heat cramps. He said his teammates "wanted to see if I could get her number."

Huguely continued to make a name for himself in college. According to his profile on the Cavaliers' website, Huguely was majoring in anthropology and was vice president of a student branch of Operation Smile, a charity that helps fund reconstructive surgeries for children with deformities such as a cleft palate.

He also got into his share of trouble, however.

Last year, Huguely pleaded guilty to two charges from his 2008 public intoxication arrest, was placed on six months' probation and was given a 60-day sentence, which was suspended.

The arresting officer, R.L. Moss, said Tuesday that she felt it necessary to use a stun gun because Huguely became abusive and she was no match for his size.

Bordley, whom the Landon School has declined to make available for interviews, stoutly defended his former players then at Duke University during a 2006 scandal. A stripper falsely accused three Duke players, including one from Landon, of rape at a team party.

Bordley told the Post then that in the wake of the incident, he was repeatedly warning his team about the risks of alcohol abuse. Huguely was a member of the Landon team at that point and his father was quoted as counseling him about staying out of trouble once he got to UVA.

"Regardless of what winds up happening, you have to learn from this experience and take what you can from it," George Huguely Sr. said. "You always have to remember and can't let yourself be in a situation where something like this could happen."

Huguely's parents left his brief court hearing Tuesday without commenting.

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