Huguely Trial Day 4: Testimony continues in death of UVA lacrosse player

Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-10 10:26:54-05

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WTVR) - Testimony continued Thursday in the murder trial of George Huguely. Early morning was full of first responders who were on the scene of Love's death May 3. By day's end about a dozen witnesses had been called, including Love’s peers and medical and forensic experts.

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] Huguely has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Before lunch recess, the prosecution had called six witnesses; first responders who discovered and attempted to revive Love. They testified about the condition of Love and the apartment the night of her murder.

For many the focus of their observations centered on a hole kicked in the exterior side of Love's bedroom door and the injuries that appeared on Love's body. A medical examiner has ruled that Love died from blunt-force trauma.

Testimony started with KW Blackwell, who was the first to arrive at Love's apartment on May 3, 2010.  Officer Blackwell told the court he was called to Love's residence for a reported alcohol overdose.

He recalled finding Love on her back and unresponsive. He testified to beginning CPR efforts immediately on Love and noted that Love had significant visible injuries to her head and neck. Specifically he mentioned that her right eye was swollen shut, she had an abrasion beneath her chin and had dried blood near her nose and mouth.

According to testimony, within minutes of Blackwell's arrival an EMS crew would arrive and continue CPR efforts for nearly 25 minutes. The leader of the crew, Michael Hanchu, testified about his resuscitation efforts.

Graphic images of Love during that process were shown to the jury and Love's family audibly cried, clutching each other inside the courtroom. Huguely avoided looking at the graphic pictures.

Hanchu described his efforts to use a breathing tube on Love and described a spatter of blood spraying from her mouth on to her neck and shoulders and his forearms.

He testified this is not uncommon when blood has pooled inside the mouth.

Afternoon testimony turned to peers of Love. Huguely sat expressionless as he listened to testimony from his peers Thursday afternoon. Many were fellow UVA students, lacrosse players, young men and women he once considered friends.

Huguely listened to them tell the court their current place in life. Many have since left Charlottesville.  But they returned to testify, to revisit for some very painful memories.

University of North Carolinalacrosse player Michael Burns took the stand during afternoon testimony.He also claimed that he had casually dated Love for the year and a half leading up to her death. He claimed the relationship was off and on, at periods going a month or two without contact. He said the two lived a close distance from each other in New York City in the summer of  2009 and admits their relationship was intermittently sexual

Burns proved himself a valuable witness for the prosecution later in his testimony when he recounted an incident involving Huguely and Love from February of 2010.

He recalled visiting Charlottesville to spend the weekend with some friends on the UVA men's lacrosse team, and celebrating with the team at Huguely’s apartment.

Burns claimed he heard a female screaming. He testified that he followed the scream and opened a bedroom door to find Hugely holding clenching Love's neck with his arm in a virtual headlock.

He said Huguely was holding Love in this position while laying on the bed and it appeared had pulled her backwards on top of him. When the door opened he claimed Love was released and left the room quickly, in hysterical tears saying she couldn't breathe and she later thanked Burns for intervening.

Burns recounted that some time after the incident in February he had asked Love about the situation with Huguely. He said that Love told him, "everything is ok, George was just being crazy."

Today there was testimony that suggested both Love and Huguely were involved with other people while dating, and this perhaps laid the groundwork for jealousy. Several witnesses have already painted the picture of a tumultuous relationship, with the abuse not specific to Huguely.

Love had hit Huguely with her purse upon finding out that he was involved with Stephanie Aladj.

Tim Fuchs, a former roommate of Huguely described an incident where Love had once lost her temper in the apartment when he and Huguely had brought two girls back to the residence.

Fuchs said Love was enraged and yelling and that he and the two girls soon left the apartment, leaving Love and Huguely behind.

Fuchs would also testify that in the hours prior to Love's death, Huguely had been drinking alcohol excessively and acting inappropriately at a father son golf tournament held for the lacrosse team.Stephanie Aladj testified briefly, and said that she and Huguely had been romantically involved during 2009 and 2010. She claims the two had seen each other casually and never called each other boyfriend and girlfriend.