Julie Carey reports on an emotional day of closing arguments as the jury gets ready to decide the fate of UVA lacrosse player George Huguely.
After a Saturday session that did not end until just before 7 p.m., the jury in Charlottesville Circuit Court decided to adjourn for the evening before entering deliberations.
Jurors will return to court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, because of the Presidents Day holiday.
George Huguely, 24, of Chevy Chase, is on trial for first degree murder for the death of his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love.
Prosecutors said the night of Love's death in May of 2010, Huguely kicked through the door of her off-campus apartment, shook her violently, and then left her in a pool of blood. Both sides gave their closing statements on Saturday afternoon.
"Can you imagine the sight, the sound, and the fury of what was upon her?" Prosecutor Dave Chapman asked the jury in his emotional closing argument, which lasted 90 minutes. Chapman pressed the jury to convict Huguely of first degree murder.
In closing statements for the defense, Francis McQ Lawrence acknowledged to jurors that Huguely's actions played a part in Love's death. But Lawrence argued that Love's alcohol consumption also contributed to her death, and said that Huguely did not visit her that evening with the intent to kill.
Huguely's attorney argued that his client was "not calculated," and his actions that evening did not amount to premeditated, first degree murder. Lawrence told the jury that a charge of involuntary manslaughter should be considered.
In his rebuttal, the prosecutor again brought the door to Love's apartment out in front of the jury, offering it as evidence of Huguely's violent intentions.
The rare Saturday session was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., but was delayed for nearly two hours in a dispute over permitted testimony. Dr. Ronald Uscinski, a witness for the defense, was limited in his testimony by Circuit Judge George Hogshire because of an email exchange involving Uscinski during the trial that had the potential to influence his testimony. The prosecution said they also would seek to strike previous defense medical testimony.
The medical testimony is critical because there is no disagreement that the 24-year-old Huguely of Chevy Chase, Md., was in Love's apartment the night she died, or that their encounter became physical. At issue is how she died from what the medical examiner has ruled was blunt-force trauma.
The prosecution argues that Huguely banged Love's head against her bedroom wall, bruising her brain and causing bleeding near the brain stem, while the defense contends Love suffocated with her face buried in her own blood-dampened pillow. During his testimony, Dr. Uscinski maintained that Love's brain did not show signs of "significant trauma."
Huguely also waived his right to testify before the trial broke for lunch. Jurors had already heard his account of Love's death in a police interrogation video played during the trial. Defense attorneys rested their case after presenting fewer than 10 witnesses.
Huguely is charged with first degree murder, felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with an intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny. He faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.