Huguely murder trial enters second day

A courtroom sketch of the Huguely trial. (Sketch: Bill Hennessey)

George Huguely appeared alert and listening to the interviews of potential jurors as the second day of jury selection got underway in his murder trial Tuesday.

He was seen taking notes on a yellow legal pad. The process of selecting a jury in the Charlottesville courthouse has been extremely slow.

Court recessed after 8 o'clock last night, after dozens of people were questioned about what they knew regarding this murder case.

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

The 24-year-old former UVA lacrosse player is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Love in May 2010. Love, of Cockeysville, Md., was a member of the Virginia women's lacrosse team.

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.

Sitting in court this afternoon was also Caitey Whitely, the UVA student who found Yeardley Love dead in their off-campus apartment. She was seated by Love's mother and sister.

The process took almost 11 hours Monday as prosecutors and defense attorneys quizzed prospective jurors about their views on college drinking, domestic violence and attitudes about male athletes.

The Commonwealth contends that Love had gotten out of her relationship with Huguely shortly before her May 2010 murder. Some court observers say that issue made the jury selection process long.

"Because [the attorneys] are using domestic violence as a criteria and considering the number of women that are abused and it's an under-reported crime, it's very difficult for [the attorneys] to find someone who's not connected in some way," said Charlottesville resident Lynn Wiber.

The jury pool comes from the city of Charlottesville with a population of 44,000. In a college town, those called to jury duty were from the community and many were dismissed because they had already formed opinions about the case.

"How can you live in a town so long and not have it influence you in some way," said court observer Elaine Haskell.

Defense attorneys continue to provide hints about their pending response by quizzing the prospective jurors on their views of college binge drinking and the possibility that paramedics could injure someone in their efforts to revive them. Dozens of people have been dismissed because they are closely tied with UVA.

"Everybody is interconnected here in Charlottesville," said resident Mark Cave. "It's hard to find someone who is not connected to either one of these individuals."

The goal Tuesday is to gather a pool of 27 potential jurors. At that point, the defense counsel will get to dismiss six people, prosecutors will be allowed to do the same. Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire wants three alternates along with 12 jurors.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges on Monday.

Monday was Huguely’s first court appearance since his arrest in 2010, when he was ordered held without bond.

The process of choosing the jury from 160 candidates began Monday and is expected to last through at least part of the day on Tuesday in Charlottesville Circuit Court.