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May 7, 2010

UnCensered: Huguely Not the Only One Facing Trial

by Joel Censer | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Censer Archive

Kent Squire-Hill, a former junior college standout at Onondaga, faces second-degree murder charges in the 2008 death of Tashina General at the end of this month -- a case which has received scant media attention compared to the recent one charging Virginia men's player George Huguely in the murder of UVA women's player Yeardley Love.

© James Escher

I've spent a lot of time during the past few days reading about and reflecting on the first-degree murder charges filed against Virginia men's lacrosse senior midfielder George Huguely for allegedly taking the life of his former girlfriend and Cavalier senior defender Yeardley Love.

After learning some of the details of her gruesome death and reading personal account after personal account describing Love as a very sweet-natured person, my initial feelings of disbelief and shock have turned more to anger and sadness.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Huguely, who I played against and remember from his days at Landon as a savvy and instinctive offensive player, as the same guy described in the police affidavits.

Trying to wrap my mind how this could happen, I kept thinking I had heard a story like this before.

And after making a few calls, I remembered Kent Squire-Hill, also known as Kent Owen-Hill.

A Six Nations native, Squire-Hill, like most Native Americans from the Ontario reservation, had the skill set you’d expect from someone who grew up playing in the tight confines of the box. After the lefty gunner helped lead the Six Nations junior team to just its second Minto Cup, he transferred his skills to the field game. At Onondaga Community College, outside of Syracuse, N.Y., he starred alongside current Syracuse stars Jeremy Thompson and Cody Jamieson, leading the Lazers to junior college championships in both 2006 and in 2007. He was also named 2007 NJCAA Midfielder of the Year and committed to play for the Orange for the 2009 season.

However, in late April 2008, Squire-Hill was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly strangling and then burying his ex-girlfriend Tashina General, who was then five months pregnant. At the end of this month, more than two years later, Squire-Hill will finally face a trial in Brantford, Ontario.

Obvious questions come to mind when comparing the two cases. Why has General’s story received such scant media attention while a media onslaught surrounds the Love-Huguely case? (Seriously, if you Google General or Squire-Hill, you will see how little you can find.) Does lacrosse just enter the national conversation when it stands as a proxy for bad behavior from privileged youth? How different is the Six Nations reservation from UVA’s bucolic Charlottesville campus?

But, most important, Tashina General’s story raises serious questions about whether Yeardley Love’s death was an isolated incident. Two unspeakable crimes have been committed, and two of our sport’s brightest stars stand accused. While it would be foolhardy and simplistic to blame lacrosse, I can't help but wonder whether the sport’s party culture might shoulder some of the blame.

When people die tragically, we should try to honor them first and foremost by making sure it won’t happen to someone else. In the coming weeks, as details trickle out and Squire-Hill and Huguely stand trial, we should give serious thought to what happened on those nights and how we can prevent future tragedies.

Only then can we really strengthen our community.


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