iOS app Android app More

George Huguely On Trial: Prosecution Case Nears End In Lacrosse Player Yeardley Love's Death

Huguely

STEVE SZKOTAK   02/15/12 07:24 PM ET  AP

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of killing his ex-girlfriend lied about visiting friends hours before her battered body was found and had a "blank stare" on his face, a former teammate testified Wednesday as the prosecution rested and the defense began.

Ken Clausen and other teammates of George Huguely testified at his first-degree murder trial in the May 3, 2010, slaying of Yeardley Love. Friends have testified that the woman's lacrosse player had a jealously fueled, on-and-off relationship with Huguely, who is 24.

Love, 22, was found in the bedroom of her Charlottesville apartment with bruises on her body and a battered right eye and neck. She died of blunt force trauma, an autopsy concluded. Huguely and Love's apartment buildings stood side-by-side.

The defense began its presentation with a medical expert who said he believed Love was asphyxiated from lying face down in a damp, bloody pillow. The testimony did not state how she came to be in that position.

"That could do it," Dr. Jan E. Leestma said of his pillow death theory. During cross-examination, Prosecutor Dave Chapman sharply questioned Leestma and asked how much he was paid to testify for the defense. He replied $8,000.

While Huguely acknowledged in a police interrogation that he and Love's final encounter turned physical, he said he did not believe her injuries were serious. He said she had a bloody nose.

His attorneys have argued that her death was accidental, possibly the result of drinking and a prescription drug the suburban Baltimore woman took for attention-deficit disorder. A coroner has said those substances were in her body but not in potentially lethal doses.

Earlier, another defense witness testified that Love's blood alcohol level was higher than recorded in an autopsy.

Huguely has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and five other counts. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Most of the prosecution witnesses Wednesday were former lacrosse players, many of whom knew Love.

The day before Love's body was found, Huguely was sloppy drunk during an end-of-the lacrosse season father-son golf tournament and dinner, his teammates said, describing Huguely's slurred speech and public urination. Later that night, he and other friends went to Huguely's apartment for beers and to watch TV.

About 20 minutes before midnight, they decided to go to a nearby store to pick up some more beer while Huguely remained in the apartment, the teammates said. They came back with the beer 15 or 20 minutes later, and Huguely was not in the apartment but soon returned.

Huguely told his friends he had gone to visit two other teammates in his apartment building. One of the teammates, however, had stayed in his own apartment and was not in Huguely's building.

"We thought that was strange," said Clausen, who went to retrieve the beers with another teammate, Kevin Carroll, who was Huguely's roommate. "What he said wasn't adding up. There was no reason to lie."

Asked by Chapman about Huguely's demeanor, Clausen said, "He had this blank stare on his face."

Clausen said he repeatedly asked Huguely what was bothering him. "I got no response," he said.

Clausen said he didn't see any injuries on Huguely, who police said had bruised knuckles the morning they interrogated him about Love's death.

But Clausen said of Huguely's mood after he returned from the beer run, "There was no doubt in my mind there was a change in his demeanor."

Carroll testified, though, that he detected no difference in Huguely's mood. "I just thought he was really, really drunk," Carroll said.

Huguely told Carroll and Clausen he went to visit fellow players Chris Clements and Will Bolton downstairs in Clements' apartment. Bolton testified, however, that he was not with Clements and was at his own apartment.

Prosecutors have placed Huguely's visit to Love's nearby apartment at approximately midnight. Her body was found about two hours later.

Carroll, who said he had known Love since grade school, said she and Huguely argued one week before her death. He said he heard "raised voices" and angry words but did not know the nature of the argument.

During earlier testimony this week, Chapman brought to the stand the coroner who examined Love's body and other forensic medical experts. They testified that her injuries, which included bruising from a blunt force such as punch and a torqueing, would have caused bleeding at the base of her brain.

Leestma, who had worked in the Cook County coroner's office and said he has studied some 1,000 brains, also testified that the injuries to Love's brain could have been the result of falling backward. He also said frantic efforts by EMTs to revive Love could have caused bleeding at the base of her brain.

In a police interrogation interview hours after Love's death, Huguely told a detective that he "shook her a little" but did not hit her in the face. He said she hit her own head against the wall and that he didn't think she was seriously hurt when he left.

Huguely said he had gone to Love's apartment "just to talk." When she refused to let him in, he kicked through the door. The door and a gaping hole in it have been in the courtroom for most of the trial, which is in its eighth day.

Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sszkotakap

Related on HuffPost:

VIRGINIA LACROSSE MURDER GALLERY
Loading Slideshow...
  • George Huguely V was escorted into the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse in Charlottesville, Va., before jurors began deliberating on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Nine hours later, they found the former UVA lacrosse player guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love.

  • Commonwealth Attorney Warner Chapman, navigated the media while arriving at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse in Charlottesville, Va., for the last day of his prosecution of George Huguely on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Chapman secured a guilty verdict on the charge of second-degree murder in the death of Huguely's ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love.

  • George Huguely

    George Huguely V, right, is escorted by a sheriff's deputy as he arrives for his trial at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. Huguely was accused in the May 2010 slaying of Yeardley Love. The body of the 22-year-old woman was found battered in her apartment bedroom after what prosecutors say was one final, violent encounter with her former boyfriend. Huguely has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and other counts.

  • GeorgeHuguely V

    Former Virginia lacrosse player and convicted murderer George Huguely V is led to court for his sentencing in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Huguely was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • Sharon Love, Lexie

    Sharon Love, left, mother of victim Yardley Love, and her daughter, Lexie, arrive at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse for the sentencing of George Huguely V in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Huguely was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • George Huguely

    In this courtroom sketch, George Huguely V, second from left, and his attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence listen to Commonwealth Attorney Warner D. Chapman, right, as Judge Edward Hogshire, top right, listens during opening arguments in Huguely's trial at the Charlottesville Circuit Court in Charlottesville, Va, on Feb. 8, 2012. Huguely is on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, fellow University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love.

  • Sharon & Lexie Love

    Sharon Love, mother of Yeardley Love, right, and her daughter, Lexie Love, left, leave the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse after another delay in the trial of George Huguely V in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 17, 2012. The trial was delayed due to illness of defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana.

  • George Huguely IV

    George Huguely IV arrives at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse for the start of his son's trial in Charlottesville, Va, on Feb. 8, 2012. Huguely was on trial for the murder of fellow University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love.

  • Marta Murphy

    Marta Murphy, mother of George Huguely V, arrives at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse for the start of her son's trial in Charlottesville, Va, on Feb. 8, 2012. Huguely was on trial for the murder of his former girlfriend, fellow University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love.

  • Sharon Love, mother of murder victim Yeardley Love, leaves court during a break after opening arguments in the trial of George Huguely V at Charlottesville Circuit Court in Charlottesville, Va. Huguely was on trial for the murder of Yeardley Love, his former girlfriend.

  • George Huguely Trial

    Court officials deliver evidence to the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse for the trial of George Huguely V in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 17, 2012. Huguely, 24, of Chevy Chase, Md., was charged with first-degree murder in the May 2010 killing of his sometimes-girlfriend and fellow lacrosse player, Yeardley Love.

  • A much skinnier George Huguely enters the court house.

  • George Huguely sits with defense attorneys Rhonda Quagliana and Francis Lawrence.

  • George Huguely stands before Judge Edward Hogshire, alongside his defense attorneys Rhonda Quagliana and Francis Lawrence.

  • George Huguely's mug shot from his arrest in 2010.

  • Media vehicles gathered outside the court house.

  • Reporters line up to enter the courtroom.

  • Yeardley Love and George Huguely, seen in a photo together at a party. The two had dated and since Love's death, UVA has tried to increase awareness of programs available to help those in abusive relationships.

  • Yeardley Love was a lacrosse player at UVA.

  • GeorgeHuguely V

    Former Virginia lacrosse player and convicted murderer George Huguely V is led to court for his sentencing in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Huguely was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • GeorgeHuguely V

    Former Virginia lacrosse player and convicted murderer George Huguely V is led to court for his sentencing in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Huguely was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • GeorgeHuguely V

    Defense attorneys for Geroge Huguely V Francis McQ. Lawrence, right, and Rhonda Quagliana, arrive at the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse for the sentencing of Huguely V in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Huguely was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

FOLLOW HUFFPOST CRIME

Filed by Andy Campbell  |