Jury nearly chosen for murder trial of lacrosse player

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 07, 2012 5:33 PM
Jury nearly chosen for murder trial of lacrosse player

By Ian Simpson

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (Reuters) - The pool of potential jurors narrowed to about two dozen on Tuesday in jury selection for the first-degree murder trial of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of bludgeoning to death his ex-girlfriend, a fellow athlete at the school.

George Huguely V, 24, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and five other accusations in the death of Yeardley Love, 22, in May 2010.

Both were seniors at the University of Virginia and on the school's nationally-ranked men's and women's lacrosse teams when police say Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, broke down the bedroom door of Love's apartment. He shook her until her head banged against a wall and left her bleeding, according to news reports.

A roommate found Love dead, face down on a pillow. Defense attorneys have called the death a tragic accident.

Jury selection began on Monday with a pool of 160 people and

narrowed to about two dozen potential jurors by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. A final panel of 12 jurors and three alternates will be seated to hear the case.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

The proceedings have drawn a flood of media to the quiet college town -- best known because Monticello, once the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson, is located nearby. Television trucks line the street leading to the courthouse in downtown Charlottesville and more than 200 media representatives have credentials to cover the trial.

As Huguely left Love's apartment, prosecutors say he took a laptop computer that police have scanned. Police also have scanned email and phone records to recover messages recorded as the couple's relationship ended.

Besides the murder accusation, Huguely faces charges of robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, grand larceny and murder during a robbery.

Love, of Cockeysville, Maryland, died from blunt force trauma to the head, the state medical examiner found. Huguely's attorneys have suggested a drug used to treat attention disorders could have caused a heart problem that contributed to her death.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)