University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V told police he repeatedly shook his former girlfriend's head into a bedroom wall, according to police documents that described the gruesome scene where the young woman died.
But the Chevy Chase man's defense lawyer said Huguely did not intend to kill ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, 22, and he called her death "a tragic accident."
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said detectives were investigating whether Huguely, also 22, had threatened Love before she was found in a pool of blood in her bedroom Monday. Detectives recovered Love's computer that they said Huguely admitting stealing. That computer contained e-mails he sent her after a bitter breakup.
"Part of what we're gathering in our discussion with friends and family is the extent to which [threats] took place and the context in which that took place," Longo said.
Huguely is a former All-America lacrosse player at Landon School in Bethesda who quarterbacked the football team to the league championship. He has been charged with first-degree murder. Huguely has been arrested at least twice before -- including once in 2008 when he was charged with threatening a female police officer.
On the day before Love's death, members of the men's and women's lacrosse teams were having a "Sunday Funday," extending a weekend of drinking and carousing, friends have told the Washington Examiner.
According to the police affidavit, around 2: 15 a.m., Love's roommate and a friend returned home and found her face-down on her blood-soaked pillow. She suffered a large bruise on the right side of her face and her right eye was swollen shut. The door to her bedroom had been kicked open.
Police said that Huguely admitted that he kicked in Love's bedroom door and during a struggle, "he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall."
Huguely told detectives that they had recently stopped dating, and that they had communicated by e-mail, documents said. Huguely said he stole Love's computer from her home and then got rid of it. He told police where they could find it and it was recovered.
Detectives seeking a search warrant for the contents of the computer said they said were seeking evidence of an "unhealthy relationship," such as writings or digital photographs that may be disfigured by an obsessive former lover.
Huguely's attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence, said his client did not mean to kill Love. "We are confident that Ms. Love's death was not intended, but an accident with a tragic outcome," Lawrence told reporters Tuesday outside the Albemarle County Court House in Charlottesville. "Grief has descended on this community as we attempt to understand what happened and why."
Huguely will withdraw from the university where he and Love had expected to graduate this month.
"The George I know is always the one up for a good laugh, very much like Yeardley," said a member of Kappa Alpha Theta pledge class who asked not to be identified because the sorority had been asked to refrain from talking to the media.
The Virginia men's and women's teams were highly ranked, and awaiting a Sunday seeding in upcoming NCAA tournaments. The university is weighing whether to go through with tournament play.
On Tuesday, Huguely's name had disappeared from the Cavaliers' men's lacrosse roster on the team's Web site.