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Yeardley Love Suffocated According To George Huguely's Defense

George Huguely Defense

First Posted: 02/16/2012 11:03 am Updated: 02/16/2012 1:26 pm

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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  • 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)


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Filed by Michael McLaughlin  |