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Yeardley Love Died Of Blow To Head, Expert Says

Huguely

First Posted: 02/15/2012 12:50 am Updated: 02/15/2012 1:25 am

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (Reuters) - University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love likely died about two hours after suffering a blow to the head that prosecutors say was inflicted by the young woman's former boyfriend, A brain expert testified on Tuesday.

George Huguely V, 24, is accused of killing Love, 22, in 2010 in what authorities claim was the drunken culmination of a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship between the fellow senior lacrosse players at the university.

Prosecutors said Love suffered brain trauma when Huguely slammed her head against a wall. Dr. Christine Fuller, a neuropathologist, said the injury was severe enough to cause Love to lose motor functions before dying as many as two hours later.

Had Love survived the brain injuries, she could have been left in a vegetative state, said Fuller, who analyzed Love's dissected brain.

Love's head jolted and then came to a sudden halt, causing her brain to smash into the inner wall of her skull, Fuller said.
The trial, now in its second week, has focused national media interest on the quiet college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, and is expected to continue through at least Friday.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include first-degree murder, robbery, burglary at night, breaking and entering, grand larceny and murder during a robbery.

His attorneys have suggested that Love's death was an accident.

Prosecution experts at the trial have agreed it was unlikely Love died from falling and hitting her head on the floor, saying the damage was probably too severe to have been caused by a ground-level fall and noting her nose had no serious injuries.

But Huguely's defense team has focused on the experts' inability to completely rule out a fall as the cause of Love's brain trauma.

Huguely admitted in a videotaped police interview played for jurors last week that he kicked in Love's bedroom door in May 2010, wrestled with her and "may have shook her a little bit." He claimed she had bloodied herself by banging her own head against the wall.

Love, of Cockeysville, Maryland, was also drinking that evening and was found by her roommate and an acquaintance face down on her bed.

Assistant medical examiner Bill Gormley said Love had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 but testified that alcohol poisoning did not cause her death.

Huguely told police that he took Love's laptop when he left her apartment and tossed it in a nearby dumpster.

Love and Huguely had ended their rocky relationship of about two years a few weeks before her death. A man who said he had "hooked up" with Love, prompting some of Huguely's anger, testified last week that he had seen Huguely choking Love weeks before her death.

Forensic scientist Angela Rainey testified Tuesday that DNA tests showed Love and Huguely each had the other's blood under their fingernails.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

VIRGINIA LACROSSE MURDER GALLERY
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  • 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 David Moye  |