Saturday, November 26, 2022

Jury awarded $15M in murder of UVA lacrosse player

RICHMOND, Va. ( Associated Press) — A former lacrosse player at the University of Virginia is liable for horribly beating his girlfriend in 2010 and will have to pay $15 million in a wrongful death trial, a jury found Monday.

George Hooghly V is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for the murder of Yeardley Love after being convicted of second-degree murder during a 2012 criminal trial. Hooghly and Love both played lacrosse at UVA and had a two-year, on-again, on-again relationship before Eardley was beaten to death in their off-campus apartment on May 3, 2010.

The trial sought to hold Huguely civilly liable in Love’s death and asked the jury to award $29.5 million in compensatory damages, as well as $1 million in punitive damages.

On Monday, a jury awarded $7.5 million in compensatory damages to both Eardley’s mother, Sharon Love, and her sister, Lexi Love Hodges. Punitive damages were not awarded.

When the jury’s verdict was read out at Charlottesville Circuit Court on Monday night after nearly two hours, the two women burst into tears. The verdict came nearly 12 years after Yeardley Love was found dead in her off-campus apartment.

“It was a tremendous test,” said Paul Beckman, a lawyer for the family.

“They’ve lived through it, they’ve gone through the criminal trial, and now they have to go through this civil trial,” he said. “It’s partially closed which means a lot to them.”

Beckman said the jury was asked to answer the question of whether Hooghly acted with “deliberate and wanton” misconduct and whether his actions were in “conscious defiance” of Love’s rights. The jury answered “yes”, meaning they could award punitive damages, but they did not.

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But Beckman said the discovery of willful and blatant misconduct means Hooghly will not be able to receive the $15 million in compensatory damages dismissed by the bankruptcy court if he argues he does not have the assets to pay the judgment.

During the trial, Hooghly’s attorney, Matthew Green, acknowledged that Hooghly’s actions caused Eardley’s death and said that his family was entitled to compensatory damages.

But Green said that Hooghly had been drinking for more than 24 hours, before encountering Love in her apartment, not intending to kill her and that she was unaware that she was dead until police found her. Didn’t tell while interrogating the next morning. Green argued that Hooghly’s action did not rise to the level of “deliberate and willful” conduct required for a jury to award punitive damages under Virginia law.

Green said after the verdict, “We think that the result of the jury in granting a defense request not to award punitive damages shows that George had a fair trial ten years ago and was judged at that time and no additional punishment.” was not given.”

Love, of Cockiesville, Maryland, and Hooghly, both of Chevy Chase, Maryland, were 22-year-old UVA seniors who were weeks away from graduation.

Love’s lawyers tell the jurors that Hooghly and Luv had a rocky relationship that was damaged by Hooghly’s excessive drinking. He said that Hooghly drilled a hole in Love’s bedroom door, then beat her up and left her alone in their apartment without medical help. A medical examiner concluded that he died of a blunt force blow to his head.

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Hugli testified that he did not remember that he entered her room and grievously injured her. He said he had been drinking too much and compared his memory of that night to a slide show in which 98% of the slides were removed.

Beckman said the jury’s decision sends a message that being drunk is not an excuse for violent behavior. “You think you get a free pass – you don’t,” he said. “There is accountability, and accountability happened today in Charlottesville.”

At the end of his testimony, Hooghly turns to Luv’s mother and sister and apologizes for hitting her.

“I miss her and think about her every day. I will do anything to take that night back,” he said. “I take responsibility for what happened to her and I will never be in her apartment that night Should have gone.”

Sharon Love initially filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2012, but it was voluntarily dismissed years later following court rulings that Hooghly was entitled to coverage under a $6 million homeowners insurance policy held by her family. was not.

A new lawsuit filed in 2018 dropped claims of negligence, but added a claim alleging that assault and battery by Hooghly were the proximate cause of Love’s death.

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