Lacrosse Murder Suspect's Rap Sheet Was Unknown to University of Virginia

A University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of murdering a classmate never reported his arrest for a drunken altercation with a police officer two years ago, leaving the school unaware of behavior that would have required counseling and suspension from team activities, the university’s president said.

George Huguely, 22, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was charged three days ago with killing Yeardley Love, 22, of Cockeysville, Maryland. Huguely told police he kicked open the door to her bedroom and that, during an altercation, “shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall,” according to court papers. She was found face down on her pillow in a pool of blood.

In November 2008, Huguely pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, public swearing and public intoxication after he threatened to kill a police officer and had to be subdued with a Taser and handcuffed during an alcohol-related incident outside a fraternity house near Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Huguely received a 60-day suspended sentence, six months supervised probation and a fine, according to Elaine Cieluch, clerk for Virginia’s Rockbridge County District Court. He completed 50 hours of community service and 20 hours of substance-abuse education, she said.

“Students are required to self-report arrests,” university President John T. Casteen III said last night at a news conference on the campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There is a regulation in the student code requiring that kind of report.”

New Checks

Before each semester, the school will now screen students against public records, Casteen said, according to the Washington Post. Casteen has been the university’s president since 1990.

Allen Groves, Virginia’s dean of students, said a dean receives notification from the university police each morning and also checks with Charlottesville and Albemarle County Police for incident reports involving students. The dean calls the student in to discuss the facts of the case and determine if he or she will be sent to a student judiciary committee.

Washington & Lee is in Rockbridge County, about 65 miles from Charlottesville.

If a student has an alcohol-related incident leading to some level of legal consequence, school policy requires the student be referred to the university counseling center. Any athlete is suspended from practice and competition until cleared by the counselor, and then must answer to the coach.

The Post reported yesterday that eight of the 41 players on the men’s lacrosse roster, including Huguely, have been charged with alcohol-related offenses during their time at Virginia, citing court records.

Charges

The charges include underage alcohol possession, using a fake ID and driving while intoxicated. Some of the players were found not guilty, while at least five were convicted or pleaded guilty.

“I’m sure those incidents that have been brought into the pipeline were handled in a manner that was consistent with what our longstanding policies have been,” Virginia Athletic DirectorCraig Littlepage said.

The Post reported that in March, two current University of North Carolina lacrosse players and one former Tar Heels player had to separate Huguely and Love at a party on the Virginia campus, citing sources whose names were not given.

Casteen said he knew nothing about the encounter.

In a court affidavit, police said Love was found face down in a pool of blood. The right side of her face was bruised, her right eye was swollen shut and her chin was bruised and scraped. Autopsy results haven’t been released.

‘Accident’

Huguely’s Charlottesville-based lawyer, Fran Lawrence, said Love’s death was unintentional.

“We are confident that Ms. Love’s death was not intended but an accident with a tragic outcome,” Lawrence told reporters following a scheduled bond hearing at the District Court in Charlottesville. The hearing was delayed and Huguely remains at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. A status hearing has been scheduled for June 10.

Charlottesville police detective Lisa Reeves filed court documents yesterday listing the results of her search of Huguely’s apartment this week, according to a report in the Daily Progress.

The paper said police took a University of Virginia lacrosse T-shirt with a red stain and a letter addressed to Love. They also took two white Apple laptop computers, a green spiral notebook, two white socks, a bathroom rug, a shower curtain, the apartment’s entryway rug and a pair of blue cargo shorts.

Investigators also took DNA swabs from a bathtub, the kitchen, the kitchen’s trash can and the entryway door, according to the paper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

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