Was It Murder? Tragedy Hits University of Virginia Lacrosse Teams

05/04/2010 at 01:55 PM EDT

Was It Murder? Tragedy Hits University of Virginia Lacrosse Teams
Yeardley Love and George Huguely
AP(2)
In the case that is sending shockwaves throughout the University of Virginia, the lawyer for George Huguely – the lacrosse player charged with the first-degree murder of Yeardley Love, who played women's lacrosse for the university – says that the victim's death was an accident.

"Until more information becomes available, it is our hope that no conclusions will be drawn or judgments made about George or his case," attorney Francis Lawrence said after Tuesday's hearing in Charlottesville General District Court, reports Virginia's Charlottesville Daily Progress. "We are confident that Ms. Love's death was not intended, but an accident with a tragic outcome."

Huguely, 22, appeared in the courtroom via video from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, where he will remain in custody until a June 10 bond hearing. Huguely, who admitted to having an altercation with Love, was charged Monday with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

Obvious Physical Injuries

Though Huguely's attorney asserted in his statement that his client was innocent of murder, Charlottesville police chief Timothy Longo told the Daily Progress that officers quickly determined that Love, also 22, had been murdered when they found her.



"When the body was turned over, oh my gosh, there were obvious physical injuries," said the police chief. "There was no question."

Search warrants reportedly say two witnesses found Love in her bedroom face down in a pool of blood on her pillow, according to the local NBC affiliate. Police officers reported that Love had a large bruise on the right side of her face, which appeared to have been caused by blunt force trauma.

Lawrence said Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., has withdrawn from the university, where he was scheduled to graduate later this month. The two lacrosse players had been in a relationship but were unclear as to its status at the time of Love's death, according to authorities.

Longo said that Love's body has been transported to the state medical examiner for an autopsy, results of which will not be available for several weeks.

Classmates Adored Her

Love, from Cockeysville, Md., had lifelong aspirations of playing lacrosse at Virginia, and began her career in the sport at Baltimore's Notre Dame Preparatory School, reports CBS's 48 Hours.

"Yeardley was the core of the personality of the team. She was our laughter, a good soul. She always found an appropriate way to lighten things up," said Notre Dame Prep lacrosse coach Mary Bartel. "I don't think there is a soul in this building who couldn't say her name without smiling. Yeardley loved NDP, and NDP loved her. She was a good soul and an outstanding athlete."

UVA athletic director Craig Littlepage added that Love was "described as an angel by teammates and friends."

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