Huffpost Crime

Yeardley Love Suffocated According To George Huguely's Defense

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George Huguely, second from left in this sketch, is on trial for allegedly killing Yeardley Love.
George Huguely, second from left in this sketch, is on trial for allegedly killing Yeardley Love.

George Huguely's lawyers began their second day of calling witnesses to the stand, a day after a doctor for the defense testified that his ex-girlfriend died from suffocation and not a beating.

Dr. Jan Leestma said in the Charlottesville courtroom that Yeardly Love, Huguely's ex-girlfriend at the University of Virginia, died from lying facedown in a pillow while blood built up in her mouth, USA Today says.

Her position combined the fluid in her mouth could be deadly, according to Leestma. "That could do it," he said.

The defense's medical expert also argued that hemorrhaging in Love's brain was caused by CPR performed on her -- not a blunt force trauma as the coroner's autopsy concluded.

Love died in May 2010 at age 22. Like Huguely, she played lacrosse for the university.

The first witness called Wednesday by the defense was toxicologist Alphonse Polkis who talked about Love's blood alcohol level, which was between .16 and .18 on the night she died.

"She would've been impaired," Polkis said, according to ABC News.

The trial was briefly interrupted by an outburst from the defense's table that prompted the judge to clear the jury from the court, ABC News reported. Journalists, confined to listening to the trial from a separate room, couldn't hear exactly what provoked the uproar. But before the audio from the courtroom was cut, Huguely's lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the first-degree murder charge and several lesser counts -- a motion the judge rejected.

The picture painted by Huguely's team stands in stark contrast to the prosecutor's case against the 24-year-old former college lacrosse player.

The prosecution alleges that Huguely, in a drunken rage, went to Love's apartment, kicked open her bedroom door and beat her savagely.

During the first week and a half of the first-degree murder trial, prosecutors called roughly 50 witnesses to testify that Huguely had an abusive relationship with Love, that he regularly drank in excess and that he lied about where he was the night she died, weeks short of graduation.

Medical experts who examined Love's battered body, said she died from blunt force trauma to the head and denied that she suffocated. Jurors were shown graphic photos of Love with bruises and cuts on her body. They heard a recording of an interview in which Huguely told police that he shook her and might have grabbed her by the neck.

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE YEARDLEY LOVE MURDER TRIAL:

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