Yeardley Love had massive brain injuries, Charlottesville Prosecutor says
Former University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love had massive brain injuries after an encounter with George Huguely, Charlottesville Prosecutor Dave Chapman said during the Wednesday murder trial against Huguely.
During opening statements, Chapman said Huguely had been drinking heavily on May 2, 2010 and burst into Love's off-campus apartment. In a matter of seconds, Chapman says Huguely grabbed Love by the throat and bashed her head several times against the bedroom wall. He threw Love on the bed where she lay dying for two hours. Later, her roommate Caitey Whitely found her lifeless body.
Chapman says Love "was a tiny woman, Huguely is a large man" and she "had no chance, there was no battle royal.” Chapman says an email recovered from Love's computer shows that Huguely had sent Love an email in the days before her death. He was allegedly jealous over another relationship Love had with another lacrosse player at the University of North Carolina. In the email, Chapman said, Huguely wrote: "When I found out about Mike Burns, I should have killed you.”
But defense attorney Fran Lawrence countered later, reading Love's email reply: "You should have killed me... You are so f***** up."
Wednesday marked the beginning of the opening arguments for the murder case against the 24-year-old former UVA lacrosse player is accused of killing Love, of Cockeysville, Md.
Lawrence says Yeardley Love did not die from blunt force trauma as the medical examiner has ruled. He says Love was intoxicated, twice the legal limit and suffocated in her pillow the night of May 3, 2010.
Love's mother and sister wept on the front row of the court as the prosecutor said, "The evidence will show she laid in bed for two hours dying. She never left her bed."
He says Huguely and Love had an on again off again turbulent relationship that often was sparked with alcohol-fueled fights. Lawrence says Love had actually struck the first blow in their relationship by confronting Huguely with accusations he was cheating on her.
He says Love hit him with her purse in the days before her death. Lawrence say when Huguely arrived at Love's off-campus apartment on May 2, 2010 he went to work things out with her.
The two had been dating for at least two years. Lawrence says Love's death was the "perfect storm of terrible, terrible, terrible coincidences.”
He says that while Huguely said he caused a "slight nosebleed" on Love, he did nothing that would cause the massive brain injuries that the prosecution says killed Love.
Lawrence said that when police told Huguely, "She's dead George, you killed her George," Huguely was in shock, allegedly responding, "she's not dead. I never did anything that could do that to her.”
Lawrence says Huguely: "is not complicated. He's not complex. He's a lacrosse player."
The trial will have 12 regular jurors and two alternates. Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire provided the panel with lengthy instructions including for them to ignore the intensive media coverage surrounding this case. Now that a jury has been selected, after the two day long process, the courtroom has opened up for the public.
Eighty seats have been made available for friends of Huguely and Love. Huguely faces six charges in Love’s death.
Wednesday marked the first day the public were allowed into the small courtroom to witness the proceedings.
On the second day of jury selection on Tuesday, Huguely appeared alert and listening to the interviews of potential jurors in court. He was seen taking notes on a yellow legal pad.
The process of selecting a jury in the Charlottesville courthouse was extremely slow. An overwhelming majority of those interviewed know at least something about Huguely. One woman recalled meeting the victim Yeardley Love at one point on campus, saying "she was a lovely girl."
Many of the people called have connections to the University of Virginia, as grad students, professors or support staff. One prospective juror said this murder case and it's connection to UVA has had an "adverse impact" on the image of UVA
Tuesday morning, Love's mother, Sharon and sister Lexie again donned Yeardley's favorite color pink as they walked into court for the second day of jury selection.
Love’s mother, sister and Whitely are all set to testify in the trial.