As the prosecution in the Huguely trial delved deeper into their argument as to why former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely was guilty of six charges including first degree murder, the district attorney’s office made their case that Yeardley Love’s death back in 2010 was a direct result of her altercation with Huguely.
Love, Huguely’s ex-girlfriend and a Virginia lacrosse player herself, was found dead in her bedroom the night of May 3, 2010. The defense has tried to make the case that other factors, namely alcohol and prescription drug ingestion, complicated an unfortunate lover’s quarrel that, while violent, would have never had fatal consequences alone.
But on Tuesday the jury heard testimony from a coroner and corroborating doctors that Yeardley Love’s death was solely the result of blunt-force trauma. The official conclusion from Dr. Michael Gormley was that Love suffered extensive brain trauma that disrupted the flow of blood to her heart and created a cardiac arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, that eventually killed her.
Huguely’s defense has not begun their presentation yet, but they have already stated that they believe the fatal cardiac arrhythmia Love suffered to be the result of her extensive alcohol consumption as well as the ingestion of Adderall, a prescription drug, on the night of her death. Accordingly, Huguely has plead not guilty to all six counts he is charged with.
On Tuesday, Gormley acknowledged the presence of alcohol and “an amphetamine” (the Adderall) in her system but that neither was in high enough levels to be fatal. In his examination of Love’s inebriation at the time of her death, Gormley did testify, however, that Love’s blood alcohol content was over the legal limit.
In addition to Gormley, the prosecution in Charlottesville brought forth the testimony of Christine E. Fuller, a neuropathologist. In her testimony, Fuller acknowledged the presence of a lesion in the lower part of Love’s brain. The lesion, described as a contusion by Fuller, was said to be indicative of severe brain trauma. She also testified about another injury at the base of the brain near Love’s spinal cord that, in Fuller’s opinion, could have only been as a result of a violent twisting motion.
Despite the fact that much of the testimony heard on Tuesday was very technical in nature, the root of each side’s argument remain plainly clear. The defense believes Yeardley Love died as a result of her drinking and drug use. The prosecution believes Love died as a result of a violently physical altercation, one that Huguely does not deny having with Love on the night of her death.
The prosecution is expected to rest their case today, Wednesday, after bringing forward over 40 witnesses in the course of a week. After that, it will be Huguely’s defense team’s turn to present their case to the jury.
After that, the jury will have to decide just what exactly happened on that night back in the Spring of 2010. If they choose to convict Huguely of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
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