University of Virginia Lacrosse Player Charged in Girlfriend's Murder

Police chief says injuries to Yeardley Love's body were "immediately apparent."

BySarah Netter, Emily Friedman , Michelle Ruiz and Steven Portnoy via via logo
May 03, 2010, 2:33 PM

May 3, 2010— -- A University of Virginia varsity lacrosse player was jailed today on murder charges, hours after the body of his on-and-off girlfriend and fellow lacrosse player was found in an off-campus apartment.

Police charged 22-year-old George Huguely, an anthropology major from Chevy Chase, Md., with first-degree murder, but have said little else about the alleged crime.

Police were called to the off campus apartment of Yeardley Love, a starter on UVA's varsity girl's lacrosse team, about 2:15 a.m. today by one of her roommates on the assumption that she had suffered alcohol poisoning.

Police found Love's body in her bed, motionless.

"I can tell you that when the police arrived, along with rescue personnel, and we were able to move her body -- having found that she was unresponsive -- the physical injuries to her body were immediately apparent," Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told ABC News.

The chief offered no details of the extent of the injuries, or of the evidence that has led police to charge the 22-year-old suspect, fellow UVA lacrosse player George Huguely, with first degree murder.

"It's very, very early on. We still have a lot of work to do and we are somewhat conservative in the amount of facts that we want to give out about the case at this point," Longo said.

"I think it's probably safe to say that he's been cooperative up to this point," the chief said of the suspect.

Longo says Huguely is likely to appear via video conference for a bond hearing in general district court in Charlottesville tomorrow morning. A preliminary hearing date will be set then, Longo says.

Longo says Love and Huguely "had a relationship at some point in time," while one friend told ABC News that they were still in a relationship.

Their player profiles on the university's sports website show talented athletes from promising backgrounds.

Love hailed from Cockeysville, Md., and attended the prestigious Notre Dame Preparatory School where she was all-county.

Reached by telephone, Love's older sister Alexis said that for now, the family had no comment.

Huguely, according to his athletic profile, weighed more than 200 pounds and was All-American in high school.

A source in the university community who asked to remain anonymous said he was in disbelief when he heard the allegations against against Huguely.

"I was in shock," said the source. "And I immediately started questioning it."

"[Huguely] was always well liked well respected and had plenty of friends," said the source adding that Huguely could be described as a "big man on campus."

Huguely had dated and had an intimate relationship with Love for "at least a year and a half," according to the source, and had met because the boys' and girls' lacrosse teams frequently socialized.

"Their circle of friends, and it was a large circle, they all knew they were together," said the source.

The source declined to comment on Huguely or Yeardley's drinking and partying habits and when asked if Huguely was one to grow possessive of a girlfriend, the source said, "He was not the jealous type."

"He has a clean history and he had a good job lined up at a commerical real estate firm in Washington, D.C.," said the source.

Outpouring of Shock, Compassion at School and Online

Love's friends quickly reacted on the Internet, posting tributes and messages.

In one status update a friend wrote, "Rest in peace Yeardley Love were an amazing person and will be missed by everyone."

In another, "only the good die young -- YL you're in our hearts and prayers."

A sophomore at the university who asked that her name not be used told that the feeling on campus was "shock."

"The news has definitely spread very quickly," said the student. "Since information was only released a few hours ago, the entire community still seems very shocked by the situation."

"Clearly this situation is incredibly difficult for the entire student population," she said, adding that the news has been especially tough on Love's sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.

The vice president of the sorority, Christie Hercik, told ABC News the group is "in a state of mourning."

UVA President: Slain Student Had 'Uncommon Talent and Promise'

In an interview posted on the Cavaliers' site in 2009, Love said it had been her dream to play lacrosse at Virginia and credited her high school coach with readying her for college sports.

"She not only prepared me to play at the college level, but she taught me important life lessons," Love said in the interview. "She always put a strong focus on good sportsmanship and working together as a team."

Love's death comes as students begin finals this week and their teams prepare for their post-seasons.

University President John Casteen issued a statement saying administrators are not only mourning Love, but that they "feel anger on reading that the investigators believe that another student caused it."

"That she appears now to have been murdered by another student compounds this sense of loss by suggesting that Yeardley died without comfort or consolation from those closest to her," Casteen said, calling Love "a student of uncommon talent and promise."

In a later statement, [[CUT the]]] Casteen said Love "did not deserve to die."

"She deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player," Casteen said in the statement. "She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and not for the terrible way in which her young life has ended."

In 2006, then a senior as Landon School in Bethesda, Md., Huguely was interviewed by the Washington Post where he expressed sympathy for the Duke lacrosse players caught up in a sex scandal that later proved to be false. Several of the men in the Duke scandal attended Landon.

"They've been scrutinized so hard and no one knows what has happened yet. In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty," he told the Post. "I think that's the way it should be."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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