Medical testimony in UVa. murder trial
Updated: February 14, 2012 - 05:36 pm
The neuro-pathologist that examined Yeardley Love after she was killed told a Charlottesville court Tuesday morning that a bruise on her brain was caused by blunt force trauma.
Day 7 of the George Huguely murder trial started with testimony from Dr. Christine Fuller, the latest in a string of scientific and medically-oriented witnesses who are providing the prosecution's case saying that Love was killed and that she did not die of natural causes.
Love’s mother left the courthouse during the graphic prosecution testimony from medical experts who spelled out how Love died from blunt force trauma.
Fuller says there were actually two different injuries to Love's brain. One occurred on the right side of her head, the other, more devastating wound, is a whiplash-style injury to her brain stem, one that would shut down her heart and lungs.
The witnesses are attempting to peg Huguely as the man who killed Love in May of 2010 by repeatedly hitting her head against a wall.
In a taped interview shown to jurors last Friday, Huguely claimed that Love beat her head against a wall on her own while he begged her to stop.
The testimony from Dr. Fuller comes a day after a series of caustic email exchanges between Huguely and Love, who dated off-and-on while they both played lacrosse at the University of Virginia, were presented to the jury, along with a handwritten letter Huguely wrote her.
The doctor's testimony also comes the day after a coroner testified that Love had smothering injuries, but they did not cause the 22-year-old woman's death. The coroner, Dr. William Gormley, is expected to return to the stand Tuesday.
Some things that have yet to be revealed during testimony, however, are the results of DNA testing that were done on items of evidence that were taken from Love's off-campus apartment after she was killed. Evidence was also seized from Huguely's apartment and that of his neighbor.
Prosecutors allege that Huguely left Love's apartment after killing her and cleaned up at his neighbor's apartment across the hall from his residence. However, in the taped interview, detectives are heard interrogating Huguely about fresh scrapes to his legs and knuckles, which he attributed to injuries sustained while playing lacrosse.
Audrey Dewaele was originally called to be in the Huguely jury pool but was excused. she's following the case closely.
“The only thing that's important is if she'd be alive if he hadn't put his hands on her,” Dewaele says.
Dewaele says the medical testimony is crucial but the jury will need the entire picture from both prosecutors and defense to make a true assessment of what happened between the two UVA lacrosse players.
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