In May 2010, the authorities were called to an apartment in Charlottesville, Virginia, in what was the beginning of a high-profile murder investigation. Student athlete Yeardley Love was found unresponsive and was eventually pronounced dead, with all signs pointing to her being killed. Crime Junkie Podcast’s ‘MURDERED: Yeardley Love’ chronicles how the authorities were led to her perpetrator and what happened in the aftermath. So, if you’re curious about the same, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Yeardley Love Die?
Yeardley Reynolds Love was born in July 1987 in Baltimore, Maryland. The young woman lost her father, John, at a young age and was close to her mother, Sharon, and sister, Lexie Love Hodges. While in high school at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Maryland, Yeardley played across and field hockey, later attending the University of Virginia. There, she majored in political science and minored in Spanish, in addition to being part of the lacrosse team.
At the time of the incident, Yeardley lived in an apartment with two other roommates. At around 2:15 am on May 3, 2010, Caitlyn Whiteley, one of the roommates, returned home to find a hole in Yeardley’s bedroom door. Inside, she found the 22-year-old face down on a pillow that had a pool of blood. Caitlyn immediately called 911, and the authorities tried to revive Yeardley but were too late. She had a large bruise on the right side of her head in addition to more scrapes and bruises on her chin. Furthermore, there were lacerations on her legs and arms.
Who Killed Yeardley Love?
Initial investigation revealed that Yeardley Love had gone out with Caitlyn Whiteley on May 2; they were eating and drinking. The duo returned at around 10 pm, but while Caitlyn went out again, Yeardley decided to call it a night and went to bed. Just hours later, she was found dead. The police then learned that Yeardley had recently ended her relationship with George Huguely, a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia.
The couple had been dating on-again, off-again for about two years, and their relationship was often volatile. At the time, George had trouble with excessive drinking, and friends stated that Yeardley was not so happy about that, ultimately leading to their break up. George also had issues with his anger; he had once attacked a fellow teammate for his closeness with Yeardley. In one such incident in February 2010, he pinned Yeardley down before others pulled him away.
Furthermore, in the past, George was arrested for reckless driving, possessing alcohol as a minor, and resisting arrest. So, the police brought him down to the station for further questioning. George told the police that they had broken up and had exchanged emails. In those emails, Yeardley apologized to him, but George responded angrily, insulting her and accusing her of having sex with someone else just to hurt him.
The authorities also learned that George had been drinking heavily in the time leading up to the incident. He explained going to Yeardley’s home sometime after 11 pm on May 2, 2010. George then admitted to kicking in her door and having an altercation where he shook her violently, hitting her head against the wall. Then, George claimed that he left with Yeardley’s laptop that he later threw in a dumpster. He appeared surprised when the police told him Yeardley was dead.
At George’s trial, the defense claimed that Yeardley might have died from insufficient blood flow to her brain, possibly due to alcohol and Adderall consumption. However, experts for the prosecution testified that hemorrhaging around her brain was a sign of blunt force trauma. Furthermore, Yeardley’s blood was found under George’s fingernails, and scrapings from his hands indicated that he was at the crime scene.
Further testimony also highlighted George’s violent outbursts and his excessive drinking. In the end, a jury found George guilty of murdering Yeardley. He was eventually sentenced to serve 23 years behind bars. Then, in May 2022, a wrongful death suit filed by Yeardley’s family ended with George being held liable for her death. As a result, he was ordered to pay $15 million in damages.