Let’s take our eyes off of Heard/Depp for a moment and recall the Yeardley Love murder in 2010 at U Va.

UD covered it on this blog; Love’s drunk jealous on and off boyfriend kicked in her locked (to keep him out) dorm room door and bloodily beat her to death, for which he’s currently serving a 23-year sentence. And now Love’s mother has won a $15 million damages case against him.

Okay, back to the current legal drama coming out of an arrogant gin-soaked world…

Annie Le, Cameron Dabaghi, Yeardley Love…

Even an urban campus like mine
has leafy paths and flowering trees.
It’s not like Kenyon College, of
course, with its remarkable
Middle Path.

But in all seasons here, as at
Kenyon, there’s a sense of a
separate world, a beautiful world.

Yet the beauty of these college
worlds isn’t really about nature.
Take the two students with back-
packs out of this picture, the
students walking together along
those trees and into a mist, and
it’s any autumnal woods.

These particular worlds are beautiful
because youth is beautiful, and
thought is beautiful, and friendship
is beautiful, and potential is beautiful.

And those things – youth, thought,
friendship, potential – exist with
greater intensity in this setting than,
I think, anywhere else.

Students take the middle path and
then move into the mist at its end.

Professors watch them move off
into their futures; year after year
professors watch students step
off into their futures, and there’s
no knowing. But what professors
keep of their students – some of
their students – is a permanent
image of their perfection as they
walk along the middle path.

They walk at ease, in love, in lust,
curious, amused, charitable, fervent.
The college takes their intensity and
cools it a bit; it asks them to consider
how human beings have shaped their
energy into ideas and structures and
states. The discipline of a curriculum
cools and shapes their intensity.

Somewhat. Essentially they remain
high-spirited and unreachable and
enviably vivacious.


To follow the strange and beautiful
world of the university is to feel the
same shock and sorrow others do
when youthful intensity turns into
violence against the self or against
other people, when fervency becomes
the sort of inner turmoil that destroys.

It doesn’t just destroy a life. It
destroys a life at a kind of pinnacle
of inquiry into life. This
sky-high exuberance makes anything
possible. When it is shot down, or
when, inexplicably, it shoots itself
down, the fall is terrible.

A Legal Analyst Weighs in on the Yeardley Love Murder

Jack Ford, CBS News:

… “You’re not surprised,” Ford observed, “that his attorney is saying, given these facts, ‘It was an accident.’ You can have a situation where somebody dies, because of somebody else’s conduct, and it might not be criminal. Classic illustration, on the job site and two guys are working and one has a piece of lumber in his hand and he turns around and hits the other accidentally, knocks him off the roof, he hits his head and dies. Might be some civil responsibility, it’s not a criminal case.

“But here, quite candidly, it’s going to be a tougher sell, because you have a whole series of intentional conduct: intentionally kicking in the door to her bedroom. Grabbing her. This isn’t a situation where he said, ‘I went to talk to her and I just sort of grabbed her to turn her around and she tripped on something, fell and hit her head.’ What he says, according to police is, he’s shaking her and repeatedly her head is banging against the wall. That gives you intentional conduct. He might not have intended to kill her, but enough intentional conduct that I think accident, pure accident, would be a tough sell here.”

Ford added that, “In most jurisdictions, they say if you intended to harm somebody seriously and they die, even though you didn’t intend to kill them, you could be guilty of murder.” …

“Love could have died from an irregular heartbeat related to Adderall, a drug used to treat attention problems for which Love had a prescription.”

It’ll work as well as this chick’s Prozac defense worked.

In what sounds like a replay of the University of Virginia lacrosse story…

… a student at Utica College – an award-winning hockey player in high school – is charged with having beaten his girlfriend – a College at Brockport student – to death in her dorm room.

This is breaking news. University Diaries will cover the story as it develops.


Update: The story has quickly jumped to the Associated Press.


Unverified details suggest some more similarities to the Virginia lacrosse case: The boyfriend is rumored to have been drinking with friends before he went to the woman’s dorm room; the couple is said to have had a stormy relationship with a lot of fighting; there is a suggestion that she may have tired of the relationship and tried to end it.

Unverified details of the attack are also similar. As in the Yeardley Love case, this woman was battered to death.

There are also rumors that the killer knocked out the woman’s roommate by hitting her with an iron.

And like Love’s killer, this suspect has a drunk and disorderly arrest on his record.


Students are not being held in the dorm, but many have been seen leaving the hall with parents, as well as some with full backpacks and purses.

SUNY Brockport’s newspaper suddenly has a big story on its hands, and so far is doing an excellent job, providing incident-by-incident updates. Its journalists are best-situated to convey a sense of the feel of the campus in the immediate aftermath of a murder. And yes – of course those parents are swarming to take their kids out of that bloody building.

Huguely Guilty of Second Degree Murder.

Could go to prison for as many as forty years. My guess is that he’ll get twenty.


Huguely’s father will testify as part of the sentencing deliberations. Given the gin-soaked existence he and his son both apparently led (Huguely wrote to Yeardley Love days before he killed her that “alcohol is ruining my life”), he may not be the best person to give this testimony. He will probably break down on the stand and speak of his mistakes and his feelings of guilt; but while this will certainly make him and his son look pathetic, it will not necessarily stir sympathy.


Update: Huguely’s father did not testify. Good call.


Another Update: He has been sentenced to 26 years.

Two high-profile university-related trials …

… are set to start. On Monday, George Huguely goes on trial for the murder of Yeardley Love; and next month Amy Bishop will be tried for killing three, and injuring another three, of her colleagues at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

UD suspects the Huguely trial will be straightforward, and that he will be convicted on the charge. Amy Bishop appears to be a madwoman, and that makes her sentence harder to anticipate (she will certainly be found guilty).

UD will follow both trials.


“None of this went reported. We were able to confirm there were no restraining orders, no reports. But just sort of the campus buzz — just the buzz, the campus grapevine — if you’re coaching a team and a player is assaulting a sleeping teammate, wouldn’t you prod around? There were just too many episodes that were almost foreshadowing this.”

A CBS reporter pulls
together the latest reports of George Huguely’s violence – toward Yeardley Love and toward others – leading up to her murder.

Having covered, on this blog, quite a lot of on-campus and off-campus violence, I’d like to speculate a little here, about this case.

Let’s start with the coach. It’s contemptible that, knowing Huguely was dangerously violent, the coach said nothing to anyone about it. But it is unsurprising. Why?

1.) Coaches go to incredible trouble, and get paid large sums of money, to recruit and retain aggressive young men. These men are rewarded for their aggression on the field, and rarely punished for that same aggression off the field. Sports heroes like Huguely have been rewarded all their lives for being rude and crude. Their coaches are part of the reward system.

2.) From the coach’s point of view, Huguely is part of a crowd. There are several pretty wild drunks on the team, and it’s going to be hard to single any of them out as not merely wild but pathological.

3.) Coaches tend to have intensely paternal relationships with their boys. They think like fathers, and fathers don’t report their sons, or call the police on them.

4.) The coach is unlikely to come from same the privileged background as his players. If he did, he’d be a lawyer, not a coach. He will perhaps, when considering action against a player, be intimidated by the money and power the player’s parents have.

5.) He will also be intimidated by thoughts of fans and alumni who expect victories and who adore Huguely as a big part of the team’s victory delivery system. A coach’s job is always very shaky — recall that Duke unloaded its lacrosse coach long before the innocence of his players was finally established.


What about Yeardley Love herself? She was obviously being bombarded by threatening emails and by escalating physical violence from Huguely. She must have known about his jealousy-fueled attack on a male friend of hers on the team. Why did she do nothing, beyond locking her bedroom door?

1.) She might have done something. She might have talked about it. She might even have lodged a complaint — something short of a restraining order, let’s say, but maybe something. We don’t know yet.

2.) She might have thought along the same lines as the chair of Amy Bishop’s department: Yes, this is a scary person, but the school year is almost over. If I can just get to the end of the semester, she’ll have to go away, because she didn’t get tenure. Love might have thought We’re a few weeks away from graduation. If I can just wait that out, he’ll go his way and I’ll go mine.

3.) The crowd thing again. She saw him as one of the guys, part of a very close-knit team. Maybe he was crazier than most of the other guys, but they embraced him, loved him, didn’t throw him off the team. He could be seriously shitfaced, but so could they. He could also probably be charmingly apologetic about his obnoxiousness the next morning.

4.) Finally there’s pity and fear.

She wanted to help him. She understood he was a terrible drunkard about to enter an unforgiving world of work, and she wanted to help him. She pitied him, not just because he was an alcoholic, but because he loved and needed her so much. He roused her compassion.

Just as much, though, he roused her fear. He was a powerful man, and a very mean drunk. His love was sick and obsessive, and now that she’d rejected him, it was all wounded ego and vicious rage. Perhaps like his coach she deluded herself that Huguely was under it all still a little boy given to tantrums, rather than a man capable of murder.

Desolation Row

UD‘s blogpal Barney sends her this moving article about the aftermath of Amy Bishop’s killing spree at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

… “There are times when you feel very, very empty,” says [Joseph] Ng, who has carried out research in structural biology in the department for 12 years.

… “The adrenaline is gone,” he says. But the sadness has moved in. “You go into the building and you are really missing these people.”

[Professor Debra] Moriarty feels much the same. “I told somebody a week ago that I felt worse than I have the whole time,” she says. She also sees similar signs in her students. “I have had a number of good students who are not doing well at all now. They come in to me and say, ‘I just can’t get my mind on it’. I send them all to counsellors.”

… Now that the initial shock has worn off, a new species of desolation has set in. The once-collegial third floor of the Shelby Center, where [a graduate student] used to enjoy hanging out, has become a lonely place that she leaves as soon as she can. “Every time you are in the building you are thinking about it,” she says. “On Fridays, when the clock strikes three or four, you are thinking about it.”…

The university news focus is now on the University of Virginia, and Yeardley Love’s killing. Perhaps the aftermath of that crime will be similar there. Weeks after the memorial events and the adrenalin, perhaps the emptiness, loneliness, and desolation of which the UAH faculty and students speak will begin to seep in — a sad, weak, distracted feeling that makes it hard to do your work.

If you seek his prototype, go to The Great Gatsby and read…

… the Tom Buchanan passages.

The latest on Yeardley Love’s killer (UD thanks David for the link):

University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely attacked a sleeping teammate last year, leaving his face bruised in an altercation that took place after a night of partying, according to four sources with knowledge of the incident.

… [One] former player, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for the grieving families, said Huguely attacked the other player after hearing that his teammate had kissed women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was dating Huguely at the time…


From The Great Gatsby:

… Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven — a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax. His family were enormously wealthy — even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach — but now he’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.

Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it — I had no sight into Daisy’s heart, but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.

… He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body — he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage — a cruel body.

His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.

… Some time toward midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face discussing, in impassioned voices, whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name.

“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai——”

Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.

The rough sex defense?

“We are confident that Ms. Love’s death was not intended, but an accident with a tragic outcome,” Huguely’s attorney, Fran Lawrence, said Tuesday. “It is our hope that no conclusions will be drawn or judgments made about George or his case.”

A short article about the rough sex defense here.



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.



Police say a Virginia lacrosse player suspected of killing a member of the women’s team shook her and hit her head repeatedly against the wall.

An affidavit filed with a search warrant says police found 22-year-old Yeardley Love face down in her bedroom with a pool of blood on her pillow.

Police also say the suspect, 22-year-old George Huguely, told them he had an altercation with Love and had kicked in her door…


Update: Via Kate, a reader and a wonderful ex-student of mine, more sickening details at The Hook, a local paper. (Read the comments, too. They provide updates on details of the crime scene.)

Scratch the rough sex defense.

Do some university football programs knowingly recruit thugs?

Why sure. You might have noticed that football – and hockey – are extremely violent. Most of the people who play them aren’t violent off-field, but some are.

On-field brawls are common, as at the Super Bowl, when officials had to keep breaking up fights.

Fans and viewers barely notice. It’s structural to the game, college and professional.


You don’t have to be the University of Miami – America’s best-known Thug U – to have thuggish people on your team, and it shouldn’t be a big deal when this or that commentator notices the thug-factor, especially when it begins to produce a crime-wave in your community.

As it has at the University of Montana, where for years now its football team has really been acting up. The latest thing is a lot of rape cases, and when a member of the board of trustees stated the obvious about them –

“The university has recruited thugs for its football team and this thuggery has got to stop.”

– he got in all kinds of trouble, with the school and fans issuing indignant denials that the team is thuggish.

But – you know – a lot of football teams are thuggish. Some of the best – the winningest – are on the thuggish side.

What do we gain by denying that even well-bred university lacrosse players can be thuggish? A lot of these university sports guys drink and drug too much, are treated like royalty, etc., etc. It’s just not a good situation. It’s a situation that can create mayhem.

Rather than attacking messengers like Pat Williams, communities like Missoula should look a bit more squarely at how they recruit and treat athletes. That they have created an ongoing problem is a (you should excuse the term, given what we’re finding out about long-term health outcomes for football players) no-brainer.

Suited Up

University news for today: Everyone’s suing everyone.

The scandal-excised president of Penn State is suing Penn State.

The mother of the woman killed by University of Virginia student George Huguely is suing the University of Virginia.

The parents of two murdered University of Southern California students are suing the University of Southern California.

“What disturbed me most about Huguely’s trial and conviction was the fact that he, and much of the commentary surrounding the case, was divorced from the social environment in which the crime was committed.”

This post, by a recent University of Virginia graduate, is the best reflection on convicted murderer George Huguely I’ve so far seen. He captures the upper-crust/crapulous, gracious living/coked to the gills thing at the heart of many elite prep schools and colleges.

[A]mong athletes, lacrosse players are among the biggest partiers, according to a National Collegiate Athletic Association report published this year looking at substance use among college athletes.

… The survey found that male and female lacrosse players are more likely than any other kind of athlete to take amphetamines like Adderall, which many at U. Va., including Love, were prescribed for attention deficit disorder. And roughly 95 percent of the country’s male lacrosse players drank, the study claimed. Among women players, 85 percent consumed alcohol.

Two years ago, in the immediate wake of the crime, another college lacrosse player wrote well about his culture:

Aggression and alcohol abuse, of course, are hardly the province of lacrosse alone when it comes to men’s college athletics. But, when it comes alongside lacrosse, there’s an implied element of absolute indifference and arrogance as well.

He recalled something the lacrosse coach at Virginia said in a 1999 interview, long before his player Huguely murdered:

“Alcohol and lacrosse have gone hand-in-hand since my days at Brown [University] in the 1970s,” Starsia told The Washington Post… “Whether it is post-game celebrations or just in general, there was something about the sport and alcohol…”


People don’t like being called arrogant and indifferent. Look at the comment thread on this Washingtonian piece.

Not the first bunch of comments; scroll down to the last five or six. These are enraged, indignant Huguely insiders insisting they did do things. They were not indifferent; they are not responsible. But as Anthony Schneck notes:

Although [the Huguely] story made national headlines in part because it seemed so shocking and unusual, the culture that allowed it to happen is not exceptional to UVA; it’s easy to protect the already privileged…

Easy; and far easier now than it was when The Great Gatsby, this culture’s iconic text (it features golf rather than lacrosse), was written. In Fitzgerald’s novel, Daisy Buchanan is protected after she kills a woman. Today’s Buchanans are vastly more Hummered up.

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