The family of Yeardley Love, the college senior who was murdered by ex-boyfriend George Huguely, said today that they were shocked when they found out about Huguely's violent past and had urged Yeardley to get a restraining order against him.
Love, 22, was killed by Huguely, 25, in a drunken rage on May 3, 2010, just weeks before she was to graduate. Both played on the University of Virginia's elite lacrosse teams.
In an appearance on ABC's "Katie" today, Love's mother, Sharon Love, and her sister Lexie Love, recalled their growing concern over Yeardley Love's former boyfriend, a worry that Yeardley seemed to dismiss.
In the weeks after her death, reports emerged that Huguely had a series of violent outbursts and that he once had to be tasered by a female police officer who he had threatened. He also sent Yeardley Love a furious email in a jealous rage saying that he should have killed her.
"I never knew anybody that had done such things like that. It was shocking," Lexie Love told Couric.
Lexie Love also said that she recommended that Yeardley obtain a restraining order against Huguely.
"I think she didn't seem to think it was that big of a deal," Lexie Love said. "That that was it. They were over, and she wasn't going to be seeing him much anymore."
Prior to the murder Huguely had several run-ins with the law, many of which were displays of violent behavior. Three of these instances are outlined in a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit that Sharon Love has filed against the coaches at the University of Virginia.
In 2007, Huguely was charged and convicted of possession of alcohol by a minor. In 2008, he was charged and later convicted of public intoxication and resisting arrest in an incident where he became violent with a female police officer. And in 2009, an intoxicated Huguely "viciously attacked a fellow varsity lacrosse team member" when he found the teammate had been seen with Love, who was his girlfriend at the time.
During his trial, prosecutors said that an enraged Huguely kicked through the door of Yeardley Love's bedroom the night she died and shook her, banging her head against the wall, before leaving her battered and bleeding. A bloody Love was later found face-down on her bed by a roommate. Her face was covered in scrapes and bruises, according to a police warrant, and her right eye was swollen shut.
Appearing on "Katie," Sharon Love recalls when a police officer arrived at her home to give her the terrible news that her daughter was dead.
"When he asked me if I was Yeardley's mother, I knew something horrible had happened and I kind of shut down," she said.
Sharon Love also said that she is satisfied with how Huguely's trial unfolded.
"I felt like the jury did their job. I think they took it very seriously," she said. "Mr. Chapman, the district attorney, did the best he could, and I think the jury did the best they could.
"Of course, as a mother of Yeardley, you'd always like to see more, but I'm satisfied with the verdict because I think everybody took their job seriously and did it well," she said.
Lexie Love also spoke on "Katie" about the experience of sitting in the same room with the man who killed her sister, who was described by friends as compassionate, fun and kindhearted.
"My heart was beating really fast the whole time," she said. "I kept thinking, 'That's what Yeardley saw, that's the last thing she saw,' and I kept running that through my head over and over again. Then I would think about the situation that night, and it just brought back horrible thoughts."
Today the Love family, through the One Love foundation which it created, is launching phase one of their "Be 1 for Change" initiative, which aims to serve as the base of a long-term campaign to combat relationship violence in the United States. The initiative has launched a free, anonymous danger assessment application, which is available for smart phones, and a public service announcement to be aired nationally.
"The development of the app and the PSA is a big first step in our long-term plan to change the perception of relationship violence and combat this intolerable behavior," Sharon Love said.
Speaking in court earlier this year, Sharon Love expressed how she wants to work through her pain to effect constructive change for young people.
"Sometimes you think you can bear it and do something positive," she said. "Some days, it's unbearable. It never goes away."