Warning Signs in Murder of Yeardley Love: 'Nobody Put It All Together'

University Promises More Attention to Domestic Violence After Lacrosse Killing


May 7, 2010—

The violent history of the University of Virginia lacrosse player charged in his girlfriend's death -- including a previous alleged attack on her that went unreported -- has prompted calls for increased domestic violence vigilance.

Since Monday's killing of varsity female lacrosse player Yeardley Love, 22, reports have surfaced that George Huguely, also 22, had attacked her months before while socializing with visiting players from the University of North Carolina. No police reports were ever filed.

University of Virginia President John Casteen said he was "startled" to learn there was no notification system in place that would have alerted him to Huguely's past run-ins with the law, including a 2008 arrest in which he threatened to kill a female officer. The case resulted in a conviction for public intoxication and resisting arrest.

It's a flaw in the system he has vowed to change.

"We are going to require a screen each semester to make sure we have identified any incident that has not been reported to us," he said.

Jonathan Kassa, executive director of Security on Campus Inc., said campus authorities should know if their students have criminal histories.

"Campuses should absolutely be doing background checks to make sure that serious felonies, sexual assaults or violence or intimate partner crime, gun violence -- that those students are not part of their campus community," he said.

Claire Kaplan, University of Virginia's director of sexual and domestic violence services, agreed that many warning signs were missed in the Love case, but that it wasn't uncommon.

"There's so many reasons why people don't speak up," she said. "They're afraid of the consequences. The most silent victims of domestic violence are teenagers and young adults.

"Nobody put it all together," she said.

The incident at the University of North Carolina was reportedly broken up by other lacrosse players. It wasn't the first time Huguely had attracted such attention.

His father called Florida police to the family's luxurious yacht in 2008 with a domestic-abuse complaint.

When police motored out to the yacht, Huguely jumped into the Atlantic Ocean and began swimming to shore, according to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

The family's 40-foot yacht, named "The Real Deal," was a quarter of a mile offshore from the glamorous Ritz Carlton Hotel, police said.

The domestic abuse complaint had been filed by the suspect's father, George Huguely IV. It was unclear whom the complaint was filed against.

No arrests were made and Huguely was picked up by a passing boater without injury. The incident occurred not far from the family's million-dollar estate in the wealthy coastal town of Manalapan, Fla.

Love's uncle, Granville Swope, told ABC News that his niece was a "delightful lady in every respect."

"She was just wonderful," said Swope, who asked for privacy for Love's grieving mother and older sister.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Casteen said Love would receive her degree posthumously with the rest of her class later this month.

Love's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

Lacrosse Suspect Once Tasered by Female Officer

Her ex-boyfriend, varsity men's lacrosse player Huguely, also 22, has been charged in her murder. Though Huguely was by all outward appearances a star all-American athlete, troubling past incidences of violence and alcohol abuse continue to bubble up as police press their investigation.

Lexington, Va., Police Officer Rebecca Moss wound up on the ground, wrestling with Huguely during an arrest in 2008 that ended with a conviction for public intoxication and resisting arrest.

"We did end up on the ground at one point," she said. "I kept telling him stop resisting, he needed to comply with my orders."

Moss said she was forced to use a Taser on the 6 feet 2 inch, 209 pound Huguely after he hurled racial and sexual obscenities at her and threatened her life, telling the officer, "I'll kill you. I'll kill all of y'all. I'm not going to jail."

A Rockbridge, Va., courthouse clerk told ABC News that Huguely had been charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and public swearing. He received a 60-day suspended sentence, six months' probation, a $100 fine and was required to complete 50 hours of community service and attend substance abuse counseling. According to the clerk, Huguely completed all of these requirements.

Charlottesville police investigating Love's death are also looking into claims of previous violence between Love and Huguely, who dated for more than a year, but broke up shortly before her death. The two were set to graduate May 23. Huguely has withdrawn from the university.

Police have reportedly seized a red-stained lacrosse T-shirt from Huguely's apartment, along with a shower curtain and a letter addressed to Love.

The murder and subsequent arrest has stunned people who knew the students.

"That wasn't George that night," his neighbor, Peter Preston, told ABC News. "That was somebody that had taken over."

Click here to read the police report on George Huguely

But former FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett said Huguely's star athlete status and all the attention that earned him likely influenced his behavior and how he dealt with others.

"They almost feel like they're royalty," Garrett said. "The problem with all that is they never really develop empathy, they never develop an ability to care about other people."

Love's body was returned to her family Wednesday. An autopsy was completed Tuesday, but authorities have not released a cause of death.

Lacrosse Suspect George Huguely Had a Temper

Huguely had two other run-ins with the law. In September 2007 he was booked for reckless driving after speeding at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. In November 2007, he was arrested for possession of alcohol as a minor when he was 19.

In the wake of the UVA murder, Huguely is being kept on 23-hour segregated lockdown in jail, allowed no visitors except his lawyer.

Huguely confessed to police, according to search warrants in the case, that in the early morning hours Monday, he kicked in the door to Yeardley Love's bedroom and shook her violently, repeatedly banging her head against the wall.

Love's body was found Monday after an early morning 911 call, face down on her pillow in a pool of blood. Her face was covered in scrapes and bruises, according to the warrant, and her right eye was swollen shut. A large bruise on the right side of her face "appears to have been caused by blunt force trauma," according to a police request for a search warrant.

UVA's male lacrosse team is ranked No. 1 in the country and the women's team is ranked No. 5. The school has decided that the teams will both compete in the NCAA tournament for the national championship in Love's memory.

Friends said Huguely had a temper and problems with alcohol.

According to the documents, Huguely, waived his Miranda rights Monday and spoke with police, telling them how he kicked through a door on his way to Love's bedroom.

Huguely had cuts on his leg, the document said. Police said they would X-ray his hands and closely examine other injuries that Huguely attributed to lacrosse.

Huguely told police he and Love had broken up and that he had communicated with her through emails. Before leaving her room, Huguely told police according to the documents, he took her computer and "disposed of it." The police document says Huguely told investigators where to find Love's computer.

Huguely's lawyer Francis Lawrence said Tuesday during a bond hearing that Love's death was an "accident."

ABC News' Katie Bosland contributed to this report.