The Loves are starting to speak out, and that's bad news for the Huguelys--very bad.
Since the day Yeardley Love was killed by George Huguely in Charlottesville on May 3, 2010, weeks before both were to graduate from the University of Virginia, her mother, Sharon Love, has maintained a stoic silence. She has enforced that code of silence on her family and friends of her younger daughter. They communicated through the One Love Foundation, established to raise funds and support causes in honor of Yeardley Love.
But she is silent no more.
Love issued a brief statement on February 22 after a Charlottesville jury convicted George Huguely V of second-degree murder and recommended a sentence of 26 years. Now she's unleashing in person and in court.
Two weeks ago, on April 18, Love spoke at the White House on the invitation of Vice President Joe Biden, who asked her to talk about domestic violence. Months before, as she was mourning the loss of her daughter, Biden had made contact with Sharon and her older daughter, Lexie.
"Vice President Biden chose to reach out to Lexie and me at this most difficult time of our lives," Sharon Love said. Biden had also suffered personal loss, and she said he "offered us compassion, support and invaluable advice but also proof that life goes on."
"My daughter, Lexie's sister, was murdered almost two years ago at the University of Virginia by an out-of-control lacrosse player with a violent past," she said. "Our lives will never be the same." With that, she introduced Biden.
Then last Thursday the Loves sued George Huguely for $30 million for wrongful death. They filed the civil action in Charlottesville Circuit Court as the judge in the criminal case is scheduled to formalize Huguely's 26-year prison sentence in August.
Is Sharon Love being vindictive? Is she out for a payday?
From what I have learned about the family, I doubt both motives. Lawyers say the case is not likely to go to trial. But if it does, they could compel Huguely to testify. He did not take the stand during his criminal trial. More likely, they say, the Loves and the Huguelys would settle the case. Sharon Love would mostly likely devote any funds to the One Love Foundation.
If the Love family is awarded a significant sum, it would ensure that George Huguely V could not look forward to a comfortable lifestyle when he would be scheduled to be released, around the age of 48.
But the civil suit does raise questions of how much the Huguely family is worth, as well as the family's condition, legally and emotionally.
On the financial side, the Huguely family still owns and operates the lumber yard George Huguely Sr. established in DC more than 100 years ago. The business grew, and George Sr.'s heirs have branched out into real estate development. Suffice it to say they have done very well, but the companies are private, and there's no way of assessing their wealth. Nor is it certain that a verdict requiring George V to come up with millions would make the rest of the family liable.
Any demand for cash could fall on George IV, father of the convicted son. He's not in the family business, and according to divorce proceedings, he was supported by the family back in the 1990s. A number of his real estate developments are in foreclosure. Moreover, he is dealing with his own legal problems.
Last September 20, according to court documents, police reports, and news articles, George IV was driving his black Chevy Suburban in Potomac, Maryland, when he came close to sideswiping some joggers. One started pounding on the SUV. A Montgomery County police officer saw the confrontation and followed the SUV. George IV ran a red light, and the cop took him into custody. He was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, and other driving violations.
I doubt we will be hearing much from the Huguely side. But I suspect Sharon Love has just begun to speak out.