CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A senior on the Virginia men's lacrosse team was charged Monday with the slaying of a fellow student on the women's team, stunning students at the picturesque campus.
George Huguely, 22, of Chevy Chase, Md., was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Yeardley Love, also a senior, of Cockeysville, Md., Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said.
Longo said Love's roommate called police around 2:15 a.m. concerned that Love may have had an alcohol overdose, but police found her dead with obvious physical injuries.
"It was quickly apparent to them that this young lady was the victim of something far worse," Longo said.
The police chief said that Huguely and Love were in relationship at some point and that Huguely quickly became the focus. Longo would not detail the extent of Love's injuries, but said there did not appear to be any weapons used in the slaying.
A steady stream of students preparing for finals later in the week wandered down the street that runs by the house where Love's body was found. Drivers slowed down and pointed as they approached the building.
"Everybody's kind of taking a wait-and-see approach," said Drew Cook, a 22-year-old senior from Burke.
Cook said all he knew was what was included in an e-mail sent to the university community. He said suggestions from police that it could be a domestic incident and there were no other suspects didn't ease tensions.
"Just to hear that anybody in the U.Va. community could be suspected of that, regardless of the relationship, does give you a sense of unease," Cook said.
Kyle Cecil, 22, of Newport News, said he was shocked to see police cars at the building Monday morning. He said Love's death was the talk of campus. He lived on the same hall as Huguely as a freshman and knew him well enough to say hello.
"It's sad that two people with a lot of potential, one their life is over and the other's life is significantly altered," Cecil said.
Huguely was being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Huguely and Love were scheduled to graduate later this month. Leonard Sandridge, executive vice president of the university, said the campus was saddened over Love's death.
He added the shock is magnified by the fact that the accused is "one of our own," he told reporters.
Both highly ranked teams are preparing for the national tournament later this month. Virginia's men's team was ranked No. 1 for most of the season and expects to host a first-round game in the tournament after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship last month. The women's team also was expected to get into the tournament.
Huguely, a midfielder, wasn't a starter but played in all 15 games this season. He had four goals and three assists. Love played defense and started in three games this season.
When asked how the death would affect the upcoming tournament, athletics director Craig Littlepage said it was "not even entering into our thoughts" but that for the players' sake they wanted to "try to get back to some things that are normal."
Love was "a person who was described as an angel by teammates and friends," Littlepage said.
Love played varsity lacrosse and field hockey for four years at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Baltimore.
"Yeardley was an outstanding young lady – joyous, spirited a wonderful person," said Sister Patricia McCarron, headmistress of the school. "I know we all enjoyed watching her on the lacrosse field and seeing her walk the hallways at NDP. We are proud to call Yeardley 'one of our girls.'"
Mary Bartel, who coached Yeardley in lacrosse at Notre Dame Prep, said, "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.
"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."
University president John Casteen said in a release on the university's website that Love's death "moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise."
"That she appears now to have been murdered by another student compounds this sense of loss by suggesting that Yeardley died without comfort or consolation from those closest to her," Casteen said.
Casteen said Love did not deserve to die.
"She deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player," he said. "She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and for the terrible way in which her young life has ended."
By coincidence, Huguely attended the same prep school as at least one of the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a team party. The charges later were dismissed.
Huguely played both varsity lacrosse and varsity football at the Landon School, a private school in Bethesda, Md., and was co-captain of the lacrosse team in his senior year, school spokeswoman Jean Erstlin said. She said the school had no comment on his arrest.
In a 2006 interview with The Washington Post, Huguely defended his former Landon School teammates who were involved in the Duke scandal. "In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty," he told the paper.
Associated Press Writers Dena Potter in Richmond and Dave Ginsburg in Baltimore, Md., contributed to this report.