Julie Carey, Art Lien
Most potential jurors interviewed in court Monday in the Yeardley Love murder trial said they were well aware of the case and had already formed an opinion. (Courtroom sketches by Art Lien.)
Jury selection began Monday in the trial of former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely.
Huguely is accused of killing his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love. He has pleaded not guilty to the six charges against him: first-degree murder, robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, grand larceny, and murder in the commission of a robbery.
Jury selection began shortly before 10 a.m. Monday. The judge and attorneys hope to have jury selection complete Tuesday.
Lawyers are choosing 12 jurors and three alternates from two panels of 45 each. Monday, 40 showed and five were sick. Of the 40, 27 had been interviewed by Monday evening, with 14 dismissed, 13 returning Tuesday afternoon and the remaining 13 still to be interviewed Monday night.
Most had heard of the case and most said they’ve already made up their mind about the case.
“This is the whole issue here when there is this much media coverage about a case in advance,” said David Heilberg, a Charlottesville defense attorney who is following the case. “It skews people’s attitudes about the case, right or wrong.”
Jurors also were asked questions like, “In a case where it was undisputed that a man hurt a woman, could you be objective about caused the woman’s death?” and “Would seeing graphic, disturbing photos of the autopsy and crime scene keep you from remaining impartial?"
The second panel of 45 will be in court Tuesday morning.
Judge Edward L. Hogshire said he expects the entire trial to last 10 days. Opening statements could be heard as early as Tuesday.
Huguely was present in the courtroom Monday, hair cut short and wearing a sport coat. Monday was the first time he has appeared in court for the murder case, choosing not to appear in prior hearings. Two rows in the front of the court room were reserved for the Huguely family Monday and both were full. Members of Love's family were also present.
Love was found dead in her Charlottesville apartment in May 2010. Initial reports showed Love died of blunt-force trauma to the head, but Huguely’s defense team says it’s possible she died from cardiac arrhythmia caused by a combination of Adderall and alcohol. He has admitted to kicking the door into her bedroom and getting into a physical altercation with Love.
The trial will not be broadcast on TV, as Judge Hogshire ruled it’s not in the public interest.