Volatile relationship, medical issues at center of Huguely trial

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Local,Crime,Emily Babay

Jurors deciding the fate George Huguely V are expected to listen to a slew of medical testimony this week as Huguely's attorneys challenge prosecutors' account of how his ex-girlfriend died.

Huguely, 24, is on trial in the May 2010 death of 22-year-old Yeardley Love. Prosecutors say Huguely beat her to death, and a medical examiner who is expected to testify has ruled that she died of blunt-force trauma to the head.

Over the first week of the former University of Virginia lacrosse player's trial in Charlottesville Circuit Court, jurors heard from the couple's friends about past violence: Huguely choking Love, Love hitting Huguely with her purse, a threatening email Huguely sent to Love.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence said Huguely might have "contributed" to Love's death when the two had a fight in her apartment, but he did not intentionally kill her.

Instead, the defense has argued that an irregular heartbeat caused by mixing alcohol with Adderall, a medication for attention-deficit disorder, led to Love's death. Several medical experts are expected to testify for the defense this week.

The prosecution has already tried to pre-empt that theory. Dr. Danny Mistry, the team doctor for U.Va. athletes when Love played lacrosse there, testified that she had had three recent screenings for an abnormal heart rhythm and none was found.

"She was in very good shape," Mistry said.

Paramedics testified last week about their efforts to revive Love, and the defense argued that some of their procedures caused bruises on Love's body.

Under cross-examination, paramedic Michael Hanshew said it's possible that cardiopulmonary resuscitation could cause a bruise to blacken, but he has never seen that happen. And Dr. William Brady, a U.Va. emergency physician who did not treat Love but viewed records in the case, said the emergency responders appear to have responded correctly.

The first week of the trial was filled with emotional testimony from friends of Love and Huguely. Several of Love's lacrosse teammates cried while recounting the couple's fights and the days leading up to Love's death. Huguely's teammates testified that he had been drinking since 9 a.m. the morning of the killing and they were growing worried about his heavy drinking.

Huguely faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, robbery, burglary, entering a house with intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny.

ebabay@washingtonexaminer.com

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Emily Babay

Digital News Editor
The Washington Examiner