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Huguely doctor counters prosecution on Love's injuries

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Local,Crime,Emily Babay

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- Prosecutors have finished calling witnesses in the trial of George Huguely V and his attorneys have begun their defense that an altercation between the University of Virginia lacrosse player and Yeardley Love wasn't the primary cause of Love's death.

A Chicago neuropathologist who testified for the defense and examined 22-year-old Love's brain said her injuries weren't necessarily the result of trauma. The testimony refuted prosecution experts who said Love's May 2010 death was caused by blunt-force trauma to the head after a fight with Huguely in her apartment.

Dr. Jan Leestma said he would expect someone who suffered trauma to have more widespread damage to the brain, rather than the isolated hemorrhaging seen in Love.

"Trauma to the brain is like a virus that affects the whole brain," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, five of Huguely's teammates testified for the prosecution that they were concerned about the 24-year-old Chevy Chase resident's drinking and that he was heavily intoxicated the night Love died.

William "Mikey" Thompson said Huguely was drinking beer in the car on the way to a team golf tournament. Chris Clements said Huguely continued drinking while playing golf. At the course's clubhouse afterward, Huguely was slurring his words, had trouble walking and made inappropriate comments, teammates said.

Then, he caused a scene when he dropped a wine bottle at a Charlottesville restaurant for dinner, Ken Clausen testified.

But Huguely's demeanor changed later in the evening. Clausen said he was in Huguely's apartment when Huguely returned after midnight. Huguely told his friends he had been at Clements' apartment, and Clements was drunk. That didn't make sense, Clausen said, because Clements left the golf outing early to write a paper.

"There was no reason to lie about something like that," Clausen said. He said Huguely had a "blank stare" and Clausen asked him what was wrong. Huguely said nothing was.

"I asked him two more times," Clausen testified. "I got no response."

Huguely's friends said they worried about his drinking because he was getting drunk several nights a week.

The drinking was "ridiculous" and Huguely would become "belligerent," according to Clausen. Thompson said it "had gotten out of control" and "needed to stop."

His teammates planned to talk with him the next day. Two hours later, Love's roommates found her slain body in her bedroom. Huguely was taken into custody later that morning, charged with murder.

ebabay@washingtonexaminer.com

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