"I was very close with Yeardley," Clements said, as Huguely, who went to the Landon School in Bethesda, looked on.
- Huguely jury to begin deliberation Wednesday
- Huguely trial puts spotlight on Charlottesville
- Photos related to Va. murder case
Notre Dame Preparatory School, 815 Hampton Ln, Baltimore, MD 21286-1499, USA
Landon School, 6101 Wilson Ln, Bethesda, MD 20817-3107, USA
University of Virginia, 1400 University Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001, USA
St Joseph Medical Ctr, 7601 Osler Dr, Towson, MD 21204, USA
Huguely is accused of kicking in Love's door to confront her about their mutual infidelities one night after binge drinking. He wound up throwing her around her bedroom, prosecutors say, until her eye was black, her nose was bloody, and her brain was bruised. A roommate found her body roughly two hours later, about 2:15 on the morning of May 3, 2010.
His attorneys say her death was not caused by Huguely's actions alone, but in combination with the alcohol she had consumed.
Clements and several other lacrosse players said Huguely's drinking was out of hand by then. He was getting loaded three to four nights per week, neglecting his responsibilities and being generally "belligerent," they said. In February of that year, Huguely got drunk at his own party, wrestled Love to the ground, putting her in a choke hold, one witness said. Huguely told police he was too drunk to remember what happened that night.
"It needed to stop," Clements testified. He and some others had talked about performing some kind of intervention, but they never did.
Intervening is easier said than done for a lot of students, substance abuse workers said. They're not trained to recognize trouble signs, they feel awkward and worry they'll lose a friend if they raise tough subjects, and they often don't want to tell others because they don't want to get in trouble themselves.
"The fact is, these kids go to parties, they watch their friends pass out or they watch their friends almost die from alcohol poisoning, and they don't do anything about it," said Gimbel, the alcohol educator. "They write on them with magic marker."
Huguely, whose father faces drinking-and-driving charges in Montgomery County, has a history of getting into trouble because of alcohol. He was arrested in 2007 when he was 20 for being a minor in possession, and again in 2008, shortly after turning 21, for public intoxication; he was Tasered in that instance for threatening to kill a female officer, police said.
"From my reading of Huguely, it seems like he had a self-control problem that manifested itself in a variety of ways, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and just kind of being a pretty reckless guy," said Daniel Webster, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who has been following media reports of the case.
Webster has studied assaults among lovers, particularly lethal violence, and said alcohol is a frequent factor, and a potential, if partial, cause of it — a debated belief in the medical community.
"We know that alcohol abuse impairs judgment, it makes it harder to control one's impulses in certain circumstances," Webster said. "So I think it does play a causal role."
He also believes that alcohol treatment could reduce violent incidents, but adds that he's part of a minority who thinks that way. It took a long time for such attacks, typically man on woman, to be considered crimes, and women's rights advocates are reluctant to link abuse to a disease like alcoholism, Webster said.
"When we start to think about diseased people, people with an illness, some of us want to cut them some slack. how can you hold somebody accountable for their disease?" he said. "But I don't think it's an either-or scenario. I think you can hold people accountable for their behavior."
Highlighting the problem
The jury in Huguely's trial, which will begin deliberation in the case next week, is expected to consider Huguely's alcohol use when determining whether he intended to kill her. They could find that the alcohol impaired his judgment so much, that he was incapable of the premeditated murder he's charged with.
He had been drinking almost nonstop the Sunday he went to Love's apartment, where she too was intoxicated.
Love, 22, and her roommates had gone out to lunch that day and had at least one pitcher of beer, even though they had homework to complete, and they went out again that evening to celebrate a friend's birthday. They were planning to go back out again after 10 p.m., but Love stayed home, saying she was tired.
Separate court records place her blood alcohol level at the time of the altercation, which occurred shortly before midnight on May 2, 2010, at between 0.14 and 0.18 percent — roughly twice Virginia's legal driving limit.