Lacrosse player accused of murder admitted being out of control

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 18, 2012 10:18 PM
Lacrosse player accused of murder admitted being out of control

By Brandon Shulleeta

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Reuters) - A former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of murdering his girlfriend wrote a letter to her shortly before she died saying that he could not control his behavior and apologizing for choking her, a prosecution lawyer said on Saturday.

During closing arguments in the murder trial of George Huguely V, a prosecutor said investigators found the letter from Huguely to Yeardley Love when they arrived at the scene where she was found dead in May, 2010 from blunt force trauma to the head.

"I cannot control the way I behave," Huguely, 24, was quoted by prosecutor Dave Chapman as saying in the letter written in February, 2010. "Alcohol is ruining my life," Huguely wrote, according to the prosecution.

Chapman said that Huguely did not keep his vow in the letter to never hurt the 22-year-old Love again. The letter had been mentioned earlier in the trial but exact quotes were read to the jury for the first time during the final arguments.

The prosecutor said a drunk Huguely walked into the 22-year-old's apartment while she was asleep, kicked in her bedroom door and slammed her head against the wall.

"He left her face down on her bed with her arms at her side, palms face up," said Chapman.

Prosecution expert witnesses have said Love, from Cockeysville, Maryland, died about two hours later from blunt force trauma to the head.

The trial has attracted national media attention to the quiet college town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberating Wednesday, the next available court date.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has pleaded not guilty to charges including first-degree murder, robbery, burglary at night, breaking and entering, grand larceny and murder during a robbery.

In closing arguments, Defense Attorney Francis Lawrence said the prosecution team has been "over-zealous" in charging Huguely with first-degree murder.

"Where's the intent to kill?" Lawrence asked jurors.

The defense lawyer acknowledged that Huguely "played a role" in Love's death and was intoxicated, loud and clumsy the night of her death but had no intention of killing her.

Lawrence said Huguely's reaction to police, who arrested and interrogated him the morning following Love's death, showed that Huguely was "a young man who has no clue" that Love had died.

Huguely told police that Love bloodied herself by banging her own head against the wall. Both were lacrosse players for Virginia's nationally-ranked lacrosse teams.

(Editing by Greg McCune)