The Huguely-Love tragedy sparks WNST heat

February 13, 2012 | Drew Forrester


A calm Monday morning on the radio got somewhat heated earlier today when I was discussing the George Huguely murder case and “Joe in Glen Burnie” called in to accuse me of “apologizing” for Huguely because I had stated that alcohol – too much of it, consumed by Huguely – played a role in the death of Yeardley Love.

Joe continued his rant by saying, “That boy is guilty and you KNOW it, Drew!”

To which I replied, “No, Joe, I don’t KNOW that, because I wasn’t there, and neither were you.”

At some point in the conversation, I said “If he’s guilty of murder, then I hope the Commonwealth of Virginia prosecutes him to the maximum extent they’re allowed.”

Joe barked back, “You keep saying IF, IF…there’s no IF…he killed that girl.”

I’m not on the jury, and I haven’t seen all the evidence, so I don’t have a final opinion to render on the matter, other than to say it’s a horrible tragedy that could have been avoided had Huguely’s drinking and violent behavior been more closely monitored by people who were aware he was out of control.  I also know this: Huguely isn’t guilty.  Yet.  And the reason I say “yet” is because he’s not guilty until the jury returns a guilty verdict.

So, until he’s found guilty, it’s still “IF he’s guilty.”

Remember those lacrosse players at Duke who raped that girl?  Remember that? What did you think in the days and weeks after that case became public?  You thought those kids were uppity, self-absorbed bastards who put that girl through a night of living hell, right?  I thought that. Turns out they didn’t rape that girl.

I learned a lesson with that Duke case, the same way lots of people around the country learned a lesson when CNN put Richard Jewell’s picture on the TV and claimed he was the man who bombed the Olympic village in Atlanta in 1996.  Not only did Jewell not bomb the village, he actually got people out of the area just moments before the bomb went off, saving lives in the process.  But that didn’t stop the media, and the public, from hanging the “guilty sign” around his neck in the aftermath of the tragedy.

I’m not defending George Huguely.  I’m defending his right to stand trial and let the evidence be entered and heard.  If the state can prove he killed Yeardley Love, I’m guessing the jury will see that for what it is and return a guilty verdict.  It’s a complicated case, made all the more difficult by a love-affair gone bad, a series of sexually-charged text messages and a mixture of alcohol and drugs and prescription medication that contributed to violent, volatile behavior.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen.  Nothing would surprise me at this point, just based on the evidence and the elements of the story that I’ve read over the last five days.

I didn’t write the Constitution.  Someone else did.  And those folks thought Amendment VI was the way to go — you know, the whole “you have the right to a speedy and public trial” stuff that has been the backbone of our judicial system since 1789.

Anyone saying “George Huguely deserves a speedy and public trial” to determine his guilt or innocence isn’t defending him.  They’re merely allowing him to “enjoy” – as the Bill of Rights states – the benefits of Amendment VI.

“Jon in Essex” followed Joe in Glen Burnie this morning and somehow weaved an O.J. Simpson comment into the discussion.  I’m not sure how that factors in — and Jon didn’t really explain himself — but the caller then made reference to “public perception” and remarked how dangerous it is to go against public perception if you’re taking a stance of defense against someone that most people think is guilty.

I couldn’t care less about that, frankly.

If the public perception is that George Huguely is guilty, so be it.  That, however, doesn’t mean I have to be guided by public perception.  I won’t be, in fact.

I’ll say, for sure, that based on what I’ve heard and read so far that George Huguely was a contributor to the death of that young girl. But without the benefit of sitting in the courtroom and having everything at my disposal, I can’t offer much more than that.  And I’d certainly NEVER proclaim someone “GUILTY” without having all of the facts in front of me.

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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Robert Says:

    With the rush to judgement, made by many without seeing the evidence, I see the need for jury screening done by lawyers. The worst part of situations like the Duke lacrosse case is the lack of accountability by those who “popped off” early, i.e. the Duke faculty. Cheers.

  2. Justafan Says:

    Neither Jon nor Joe would be selected for a jury because of their pre-conceived notions.

  3. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    As I stated this morning, the prosecution has the burden of proving the three elements of first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt, which would be difficult even if alcohol were not involved. Those elements are, pre-meditation (he went to her apt intending to kill her); deliberation (he deliberately killed her); malice aforethought (provocation). Alcohol impairs one’s ability to reason clearly and will be an integral part of the defense’s attempt to refute “intent”! On the surface, it appears to be a classic case of manslaughter, which is defined as the killing in the heat of blood or second degree murder, which is killing absence the pre-meditation and deliberation. Frankly, had he “intended” to kill her, he could have easily choked her to death. In any event, “Murder 1” will be very difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt”……..

  4. christopher McWilliams Says:

    Mr. Forrester,
    I am a lifetime Baltimore sports fan and likely around your age. And I have to tell you, you have got to let this Jen Royle stuff go, bro. I have read your website for years but I must say I heard you first hand rip that girl. I also have read multiple blogs about you commenting on her appearance (boots) and how dumb she is. Ive also read your tweets about the way she smelled at the ravens facility and correct me if I am wrong but Glen tweeted she was trashy like a stripper.

    With that proof, how in hell can you proclaim your innocence in the Royle case? I’m at a loss for words.

    Please I would like a reply from you. I deserve that as a long time listener.

    (DF: Here’s my reply. Jen Royle dropped the lawsuit she filed against the radio station, naming ME in that lawsuit. I don’t have to prove ANYTHING to you. Nothing. She would have to prove to a court – and to you, if you’re that interested – that we were guilty of wrong doing. She couldn’t prove that. So she dropped the case. Now, tell me again what I have to prove to you…)

  5. Rich Says:

    For the record, the US Constitution is all that matters in terms of this stand point, but the “courtroom of public opinion” will always be there to cloud any high profile matter. It’s just human nature, unfortunately. However, I say we leave interpretation of the US Constitution to those who do THAT for a living and those who interpret what happens in sports via the media for a living should stick to doing JUST that. I turn to sports media for coverage and commentary on the sports that I follow. I don’t want to hear a sports media outlet opining on murder trials (no matter what sports affiliation there may be … including Coach Sandusky and Bernie Fine) any more than I want main stream news outlets giving me their opinions on the NFL Draft or the race for the Stanley Cup. (DF: This is a sports story, sir. Very much so. They were athletes at a high level university and it brings into question what role their respective teams, players and coaches might have had in this incident. And it’s a sports story because you and others who listen might have college age sons and daughters who need to look at this as a teaching moment.)

  6. christopher McWilliams Says:

    But if I have the proof, because I read it, don’t you think she does too? You act like you are so innocent in this, Drew. I find it hard to believe this girl was able to file a suit with no proof. What lawyer would even take that case?

    Just because she dropped it means she couldnt prove anything? Wishful thinking on your part. I dont know this girl and I never will as I understand she is gone now. But you DID cross the line with her. And if we all know it, she knows it, I assume a judge would too. All she had to do was print the things YOU typed.

    Nobody feels sorry for you. You took it too far. Your a very knowledgable sports guy, stick to talking sports and not about your competitors, especially if they are women. (DF: You’re funny. If anything I wrote or said was WRONG and was worthy of a lawsuit, why didn’t the lawsuit go to trial? It’s a free country and I’m allowed to say or write whatever I want. And if what I did was wrong – or anyone did at WNST was wrong – why didn’t the lawsuit move forward? Answer: I didn’t do anything wrong. Say hi to Jen for me when you see her today. Try not to be so obvious next time.)

  7. christopher McWilliams Says:

    And where might I see Jenn, Mr. Forrester? Once again, you find it hard to believe somebody who doesn’t know her would defend the woman. Not everyone is on your side in this town. I commend you for your sports work, but a lot of people lost a lot of respect for you and your station for the way you treated Ms. Royle. Regardless of whether you think it was right or wrong, it was unnecessary and unwarranted from the outside looking in. Stop feeling like the victim, pop your ego, and come to the reality that maybe, just maybe, you were in the wrong. You can write all the blogs you want but people read what you wrote and heard what you guys said.

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