Mother of Yeardley Love speaks out to end domestic violence

Yeardley Love was murdered by her ex-boyfriend

For the first time we're hearing from Sharon Love, the mother of Yeardley Love, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia back in 2010.

She sat down with ABC2 News for an exclusive interview.

Love has now devoted her life to getting the word out about domestic violence, though the One Love Foundation .

"When I look at pictures (of Yeardley) now, I love to see her pictures but it's bittersweet because I know there will be no more pictures coming," she said.

Yeardley Love grew up in Cockeysville, and dreamed of playing for the University of Virginia Cavaliers.

She lived the dream, and was just three weeks away from graduating when she was murdered.

"I'm sure there are so many other girls out there right now that feel the same way that we did; we had no idea that people were capable of this kind of evil," Sharon Love said.

Now she knows.

And now she has embraced the role she's been thrown into, the role of activist.

"I knew nothing about domestic violence until this happened to us. And I wish we had had more knowledge about it," she said.

Yeardley had been dating George Huguely, a men's lacrosse player at the University of Virginia.

But after several violent, drunken incidents that were later documented in court, she broke up with him.

"She didn't put up with anything," Sharon Love said.  "And so she left.  She left him. And ultimately that's why he did what he did, I think."

May 2nd, 2010 was a Sunday.  George Huguely spent nearly the entire day drinking.  Then, around midnight, he kicked down the door to Yeardley Love's bedroom and assaulted her.

He took her computer, then left her in the room where she died.  He was arrested later that morning.

His trial lasted nearly three weeks.  Every day was a struggle for Sharon Love, and for Yeardley Love's older sister Lexie, who is getting married later this month.  "His appearance when we first saw him was entirely different than what I knew him to look like," she said.

She believes Huguely's defense attorneys wanted to make the hulking lacrosse player look smaller for the jury.

"He had morphed into a young boy again and he was presented that way in court.  His jacket was too big, his seat was lower than his attorneys' seats.  I do think that was intentional," she said.

The strategy was not successful.  The jury convicted Huguely of second-degree murder.

Huguely spoke to the Love family at his sentencing, telling them he was sorry for their loss, and that he hopes and prays they find peace.

"When he addressed us, I think it would probably have been better had he had just not said anything to us," Love said.

She praised prosecutor Dave Chapman, who broke down emotionally several times during and then again after the trial.

"All I see is loss," he said at a news conference after Huguely's sentencing.  "It will be that way forever.  We just wish that it didn't happen."

Huguely was sentenced to 23 years in prison.  With time served and good time credits, he's likely to be released around the time he's 40 years old.

"What is enough? I don't know what's enough," Love said.  "Nothing is enough.  Nothing will bring Yeardley back but I try not to go there; to think about that."

Research from the National Institute of Justice shows that one in three woman will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Sharon Love says she can only wish she knew more about what to look out for.

"Maybe we were all too naive, and didn't realize what was possible or what other people were capable of," she said.  "I think Yeardley saw the good in everyone and probably ignored the bad for too long. If that is a mistake that was her mistake."

And that's why the One Love Foundation has become more than just a fund-raising, publicity-generating organization.  Its smartphone app has just been released.  It was developed with the help of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

The app allows anyone to plug in information about what's happening in their relationship, or in the relationship of someone they care about, and find out whether they should be concerned.

"Our app will give people the tool to assess that and move on from there," Love said.

Sharon Love isn't moving on.  She can't -- her daughter was taken away from her.  But she can put all of her efforts into keeping another family from having to go through what she has.

"I'm hoping Yeardley's story will be a catalyst for others to look more closely at their relationship and do something about it," she said.

George Huguely's attorneys have said they plan to appeal his conviction.

Click here for more information on the One Love Foundation.

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