CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Lawyers for George Huguely argued in court Yeardley Love died from "a tragic combination of circumstances to which George contributed," but not lethal brain injury.
During opening statements in the murder trial this morning prosecutors detailed Love's final hours. They admitted there was alcohol consumed in "significant amounts" by Love prior to her death on May 2, 2010, saying that was why she stayed in while her roommates went out.
Prosecutors claim her ex-boyfriend Huguely broke down her bedroom door hours later, confronted her about her relationship with another man, then took her computer and left her for dead.
They also pointed to an email sent by Huguely to Love two days prior in which he wrote, "I should have killed you" over the alleged infidelity.
The defense dismissed the email, saying Yeardley didn't see it as a serious threat. Rather than contradict many of the prosecution's claims, they focused Instead on medical evidence which they claim clears their client.
Attorneys conceded a drunken confrontation between Huguely and Love occurred in her bedroom, but claimed her death was unexpected and unintended. They claim he held Love down, pushed her onto the bed and left thinking she had no more than a bloody nose.
They plan on showing his police questioning to jurors, in which he reacts in disbelief to the news that she has died, saying, "I never did anything that could do that to her."
They plan to call experts who will show Love's death was due to positional asphyxiation, under the premise that her brain was denied oxygen and blood because she collapsed face down onto a pillow. Huguely's lawyers told the jury to consider a charge of involuntary manslaughter, rather than the first-degree murder charge he could be convicted on.
Testimony begins Wednesday afternoon, with Love's mother and sister expected to take the stand. The case is expected to last two weeks.
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