(Updates with prosecutor details in seventh paragraph.)
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Days before a University of Virginia lacrosse player allegedly killed his girlfriend, she hit him with her purse and demanded to know if he’d exchanged text messages with two women, according to testimony at the 24-year- old’s murder trial.
George W. Huguely V, seeking to portray the 2010 death of fellow senior and women’s lacrosse team member Yeardley Love as accidental and unintended, called two witnesses who described an incident at Huguely’s apartment a few days before she was found dead.
“She asked who we were and she asked if George had been texting us,” said Caroline Wattenmaker, then a high school student visiting the university who Huguely took back to his apartment after meeting her and a friend at a club. “She hit George with her purse and he got up off the sofa and backed away,” she told the jury in state court in Charlottesville, Virginia. “He asked her to leave.”
Huguely is charged with first-degree murder, robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, grand larceny and murder in the commission of a robbery. He faces as long as life in prison if convicted.
Her companion that day, Alice Billmire, testified that Love appeared to be frustrated. Billmire said she was in another room at the time Wattenmaker testified the altercation took place. The two women described Huguely as “polite” and “perfectly nice.”
Love’s badly bruised body was discovered by a friend and teammate who went to Love’s room in her apartment about 2 a.m. on May 3, 2010, and found her face down in a pool of blood on her pillow.
Huguely told police investigators that he entered Love’s apartment through an unlocked front door and then kicked open the door to her bedroom, where police found her body. Huguely said the two had an altercation during which he “shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall,” according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors.
Prosecutors spent nine days presenting their case, which included testimony from former students and medical experts. The government wrapped up its evidence on Feb. 15.
In addition to the two women, the jury heard from Huguely’s aunt, Alina Massaro. She narrated video played for the jury that was taken from a surveillance camera at a Charlottesville restaurant. In the video, taken two days before the alleged murder, Huguely, who Massaro referred to as Georgie, is seen hugging his 17-and 18-year-old cousins and holding hands with Love.
Michael Woodhouse, a bio-mechanical consultant and associate research professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, testified today that he saw no evidence of an impact profile on a piece of drywall that came from Love’s apartment.
Today’s trial was cut short because one of Huguely’s defense lawyers was sick. The illness prevented the defense team from having its medical experts testify.
The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow.
The case is Commonwealth of Virginia v. Huguely, 11-102, Circuit Court for the City of Charlottesville, (Charlottesville).
--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Fred Strasser
To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Bonnie V. Winston in Richmond, Virginia, at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at firstname.lastname@example.org