The video of police interrogating a distraught and defiant George Huguely V hours after he beat his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, a fellow University of Virginia senior, to death in a drunken rage in May 2010 will be publicly shown for the first time.
The tape of police questioning Huguely for more than an hour following Love's slaying can be shown in a Charlottesville, Va. courtroom on May 15 and 16, a judge ruled. The decision came in response to a request by the Washington Post and other news organizations to lift the judicially imposed blackout on certain evidence presented during the sensational murder trial.
"All trials are to be open so people have confidence in the judicial process," said attorney Bob Yates, who represented the Post, Gannett newspapers and TV stations that wanted to see the evidence. "We can form opinions if the jury got it right or if the jury got it wrong. You need to be able to understand what they saw and what they heard."
The interrogation videotape was played for the jury, but members of the media and public could only hear snippets of the audio, because a judge didn't allow the screen to face the courtroom audience.
A conviction of second-degree murder sealed Huguely's fate in February. The display is an opportunity to see hundreds of crime-scene photographs and text messages exchanged during the tumultuous relationship, Court Clerk Llezelle Dugger told The Huffington Post.
During the interrogation, Huguely, now 24, could be heard admitting that he scuffled with Love in her bedroom on the night a roommate found her beaten and bleeding facedown into her bed.
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Huguely, a former college lacrosse player, sobs during the interrogation and blurts out "She's not dead."
"I never did anything that could do that to her," he insisted.
Huguely's words may be known. The public, however, has never heard them as he spoke them on that night.
This viewing will be the first -- and perhaps only -- chance to see his body language while he responds to questioning and ultimately learns that Love died, just weeks shy of her graduation.
The jury also saw autopsy photos of Love's body that showed her eye and cheek bruised, as well as cuts and scratches on her body. Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire ruled that only "non-sensitive" evidence will be shown to the public in court.
Though the goriest images will remain off-limits, the public will see hundreds of photos from the crime scene. They may include pictures of Love's bedroom door that Huguely kicked in, said Yates.
Dugger said the exhibit will include text messages and emails that the couple sent each other. It's unclear exactly which notes will be shown, though it's known that Huguely once wrote an email to Love that said "I should have killed you" after he learned that she'd been with another man.
Dugger, Yates and officials in the local prosecutor's office said they couldn't recall another case where a judge ordered a public display of evidence after a jury reached a verdict.
"We've never had anything like this," an official in the commonwealth attorney's office told The Huffington Post. "This is something new and different."
Calls to Huguely's attorney were not returned, but Yates said the defense team has fought against releasing the evidence.
A jury suggested a 26-year prison term for Huguely. Formal sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 30.
Love's mother Sharon Love sued Huguely for $30 million last week, saying that he acted with "reckless indifference" and "negligence" in her daughter's death.