Illness prompts delay in lacrosse player's murder trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 2:53 PM

By Brandon Shulleeta

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (Reuters) - A member of George Huguely V's defense team fell ill on Thursday, prompting a delay in the former University of Virginia lacrosse player's first-degree murder trial.

A day after prosecutors wrapped up their case, Huguely's attorneys had been expected to continue calling witnesses to bolster his defense.

Huguely, 24, is accused of killing Yeardley Love, 22, in 2010 in what authorities claim was the drunken culmination of a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship between the pair. Both were seniors and lacrosse players at the university.

Prosecutors said Love suffered fatal brain trauma when Huguely slammed her head against a wall in her apartment.

Huguely's attorneys have suggested that Love's death was an accident. Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery, burglary at night, breaking and entering, grand larceny and murder during a robbery.

Defense attorney Francis Lawrence reported Thursday morning that his colleague, Rhonda Quagliana, was not feeling well. He said he expected her to arrive by lunchtime, but when she was still not well at midday the judge delayed the trial until Friday.

The trial, which has drawn dozens of reporters to the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, is in its second week. At least several more witnesses are expected to testify, and local officials said the proceedings could continue into Saturday and possibly late next week.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)