Lacrosse Star's Murder Is Now Focus of Civil Trial

University of Virginia's Yeardley Love was killed by George Huguely
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2022 8:32 AM CDT
Lacrosse Star's Murder Is Now Focus of Civil Trial
A 2009 photo of University of Virginia women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love.   (AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Andrew Shurtleff, File)

(Newser) – A decade ago, University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V was convicted of second-degree murder after a sensational criminal trial in the killing of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Yeardley Love, a member of the UVA women's lacrosse team. With Huguely now about halfway through his 23-year prison sentence, Love's mother is seeking to hold him responsible in civil court, per the AP. Sharon Love’s lawsuit, which seeks $29.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages, is set to go to trial Monday in Charlottesville Circuit Court, almost 12 years after her daughter was found dead in her off-campus apartment.

At the University of Virginia, an elite state school consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, Love and Huguely, both seniors who were weeks away from graduating, were known for their play on UVA's nationally ranked men's and women's lacrosse teams. But they were also known for their volatile relationship. During Huguely's criminal trial, a witness testified that he saw Huguely put Love in a chokehold months before she was killed. Prosecutors said Huguely kicked a hole in Love's bedroom door, then beat her after a day of golf and binge drinking, enraged that she had had a relationship with a lacrosse player from North Carolina. Love’s right eye was bashed in and she had a head injury that caused bleeding at the base of her brain stem.

In the end, the jury rejected a first-degree murder charge against Huguely and convicted him of second-degree murder instead. The jury recommended a 25-year prison sentence, but the judge imposed a slightly lower sentence of 23 years. The civil trial is expected to include many of the same witnesses and testimony—friends, roommates, other lacrosse players, and medical experts—although many of them are expected to testify in videotaped depositions instead of in person. Huguely is expected to testify and will be brought from prison to court on that day only, not throughout the trial.

(Read more George Huguely stories.)

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