Nearly three months after George Huguely V was convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of his University of Virginia girlfriend, Cockeysville native Yeardley Love, the public will be able to get a look at some of the evidence shown to jurors during his trial.
A "public viewing" is set for Tuesday morning at the Charlottesville courthouse, in response to months-old media requests. Among the items to be shown is an hourlong videotape of Huguely's police interrogation, which was previously heard — but not seen — by those who attended the trial.
Sensitive materials, such as autopsy photos and medical documents, will not be displayed.
The Charlottesville courtroom is set up in such a way that the judge and jury face those in the gallery, which means evidence shown to them on any kind of screen is not visible to onlookers, who instead get a view of the back end of the equipment.
News organizations asked that a second monitor be set up facing the audience during Huguely's trial, but Judge Edward L. Hogshire denied the request and instead offered this week's viewing opportunity, months after the trial closed Feb. 22.
"I am well aware of the difficulties presented by the configuration of the courtroom as relates to hearing witness testimony and seeing exhibits for those seated in the audience," Hogshire wrote in an April 23 ruling, arranging for the viewing and explaining his decisions during trial.
"Given the late start of this case due to the protracted process of jury selection," Hogshire wrote, "I was not prepared to interrupt the proceedings to begin efforts to install new audio-visual equipment, an effort that would have been a major distraction to the court and counsel."
It's unclear whether the issue has ever been raised with the court before.
Other things not visible during Huguely's trial include text messages he sent to various women the day he killed Love, an email exchange between Love and Huguely discussing his drinking problem, and a handwritten letter Huguely wrote to Love, which detectives found in her bedroom drawer.
Tuesday's evidence viewing is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. A second session is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Huguely, who is from Chevy Chase, beat Love to death in a drunken rage on May 2, 2010, shortly before the private-schooled, lacrosse-playing couple were set to graduate from the university. Jurors recommended a 26-year prison term after finding Huguely, now 24, guilty of second-degree murder and larceny, for stealing Love's laptop computer as he left her apartment.
Hogshire could modify the prison recommendation at Huguely's sentencing, set for Aug. 30. Huguely's defense attorneys have said they plan to file a motion asking for a retrial, though it appears the request has not yet been made, according to online court records.
Love's mother, Sharon Love, has filed a wrongful death civil suit against Huguely, asking for $29.5 million in compensatory damages on each of five counts. The lawsuit alleges that Huguely "acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of Love and/or with a reckless indifference to the consequences" of a physical altercation between them. The suit also asks for $1 million in punitive damages on three separate counts.
Sharon Love has also sued the commonwealth of Virginia, which oversees the university, as well as the school's athletic director and two of its men's lacrosse coaches, asking for $29.5 million in compensation.
In that lawsuit, she claims the defendants should have intervened to save her daughter and that it was "well known to the players and coaches on the UVA men's and women's lacrosse teams that Huguely's alcohol abuse and erratic, aggressive behavior was increasingly getting out of control, especially his obsession with [Yeardley] Love and his aggressiveness and threats to Love."
twitter.com/triciabishopCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun