Yeardley Love and George Huguely lived one apartment building away from each other their senior year at the University of Virginia. Love lived on the second floor of a white stucco building in Charlottesville; Huguely’s apartment was on the second floor of an older brick building with green shutters and a slate roof.
Huguely had to walk 75 paces and climb two flights of stairs to reach Love’s door.
The two had been dating more than two years by the spring of 2010. He had fallen for her quick smile, crystal blue eyes, and angelic disposition; she was attracted to his swagger, his prankster ways, his teddy-bear side. Both had come up through prep schools steeped in the lacrosse culture, and both played varsity lacrosse at UVA. Their teams were heading into the NCAA tournaments.
Virginia’s men’s and women’s lacrosse players partied hard together. George and Yeardley had been at the center of the scene. But as graduation neared, Yeardley’s commitment to George cooled. Friends say she began to tire of his heavy drinking and lack of ambition. Their on/off relationship went off.
“George was thinking, ‘I’m the hotshot lacrosse player. I can have what I want. I can take what I want,’ ” says a friend who grew up with him in Chevy Chase. “ ‘This girl can’t be leaving me—I’m leaving her.’ ”
Huguely’s ardor turned to rage on occasion, especially when he had been drinking. In one incident, he pummeled a lacrosse teammate who had walked Love home from a bar. At a party in February of last year, he pinned Love down and was pulled off by lacrosse players from the University of North Carolina.
The last week of April, they argued and Yeardley hit him with her purse, losing her camera and cell phone as she lashed out at him. Huguely later sent her angry e-mails, which friends described as threatening. Sharon Love, Yeardley’s mother, urged her daughter to get a restraining order, friends say. None was sought.
A little before midnight on Sunday, May 3, George Huguely walked the 75 steps up 14th Street to Yeardley Love’s apartment house. He took a left across the parking lot and a right into the outdoor stairwell to the second-floor landing in front of number 9. The white metal door contained a tiny peephole.
The door was not locked.
A classmate of George Huguely’s at Bethesda’s Landon School who also was attending UVA recalls seeing him that Sunday morning. Huguely was dressed in sweats, his hair unkempt, his eyes bleary.
“He was a lot bigger than he was at Landon,” the classmate says. “He was huge.”
Huguely had been lifting weights and working out to keep pace with the best college lacrosse players in the country. The team roster lists him at six-foot-two and 209 pounds.
Yeardley Love was petite; she looked about half his size.
The UVA campus was bustling that first weekend of May. Huguely’s parents, Marta Murphy and George Huguely IV, were in town for senior weekend to celebrate the end of the regular lacrosse season and cheer the teams into the NCAA championship round. They had split up in 1996, when Huguely was nine, and divorced two years later following testy court battles over money and custody of George and his younger sister, Teran.
On Sunday, Huguely joined his father and a few friends for a round of golf at the Wintergreen Resort, in the rolling hills 30 miles west of Charlottesville. Huguely’s roommate saw him drinking a beer at 10 am and “starting to get a little bit drunk,” according to later testimony. Huguely continued to drink on the links; by the end of the round, he was swatting at the ball and skipping holes. After dinner with family members, he continued to drink beers in his apartment. By 11 pm, the roommate said, “he was really drunk.”
When he walked into Love’s apartment sometime around 11:15 pm, she was in her bedroom. Huguely kicked in the bedroom door. Anna Lehmann, a fourth-year biology student who lived in the apartment below, heard arguing and loud banging.
Next: Love's roommate calls 911