Opening statements and 8 witnesses heard in Huguely trial

Posted at 2:06 PM, Feb 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-09 13:05:24-05

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WTVR) - Final jury selections were made in the George Huguely case on Wednesday, as well as opening statements delivered on both sides, and after lunch eight witnesses were called by the prosecution.

Huguely, 24, faces six charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the death of Yeardley Love, his ex-girlfriend. Both Huguely and Love played lacrosse at the University of Virginia. [Read more about the case]

Opening statements began after a lengthy process of jury selection. The final jury of seven men and seven women was sworn-in around 10:30 Wednesday morning.

Two of the jurors will serve as alternates. Of the twelve jurors serving, two are African-American, making the jury mostly white.

Charlottesville Commonwealth's attorney Dave Chapman began opening statements by recalling the overall mood Love shared with her roommates and friends that weekend. He said they were "young women at the height of a college career," who were at the "end of what might be a celebratory weekend."

Prosecutors said that Huguely had sent Love an email that said "I should kill you." That was just one in a series of angry emails between the couple, whose relationship was painted as tumultous.

When Huguely's lawyer Francis Lawrence took the floor, he relayed the rest of the email's message; "I should have killed you. You should have killed me. You're so [profanity] up.

Chapman detailed the wounds Love displayed when her body was discovered; multiple abrasions to her head, scalp, eyes and mouth. He said she had severe bruising on her legs and arms.

Chapman added, and later a witness would confirm, that none of the injuries were related to lacrosse, and that Love had barely played in the recent game against Chicago's Northwestern University team.

The night that Love was found dead, she had been drinking and celebrating a friend's birthday at local Charlottesville restaurant Boylan Heights.

Chapman laid out a timeline for the evening in his opening statement. The team had returned, May 1, from an out-of-town game in Chicago. The alleged murder of Love occurred early morning May 3.

Love had returned from Boylan Heights with her roommate Caitlin Whiteley. Love had decided not to go back out drinking with her roommate and friends. Whiteley said that when she left again for the night, around 10:30 p.m., Love was topless, in her underwear and in her bedroom. The roommate noted that the front door was left unlocked.

The downstairs neighbor, Anna Lehman, who the defense said they will also call as a witness, told police that around 11:50 p.m. she heard a crash and bang and running upstairs.

"That's an assault taking place," said Chapman about the noise, in his opening statments.

Around 2:15 a.m., Whiteley returned home, with Philippe Oudshoorn, who waited in the hallway. She went into Love's room and found Love facedown in her pillow, a comforter pulled up to her back.

Whiteley said she knelt beside the bed to wake Love, and when she moved Love's hair, she saw blood. Love also had a black eye.

Oudshoorn administered CPR but said Love had no pulse when he checked.

The prosecutor made the case for blunt force trauma to the head, and said there was severe injury to the brain stem, which affects the respiratory system.

Gail Pennybacker, a reporter for WJLA in Washington, D.C., reported on Twitter that Love's mother cried in court when prosecutors told the jury Love laid in her bed for two hours dying following the assault.

By the time that police arrived at Huguely's apartment, it was early Monday morning.

The prosecutor implied that Huguely's lack of expression or interest in why police had picked him up, or where they were taking him was because of guilt.