CRIME

Yeardley Love murder case: Jury selection begins Monday

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Was the death of Yeardley Love a tragic accident of a deliberate act of murder? This question will be the centerpiece of the trial of George Huguely.

The two 22-year-old University of Virginia lacrosse players were days away from graduation in May of 2012 when Love was found in her off-campus apartment, face-down, dead in bed.

Huguely was charged with the murder hours later, sending shock waves across the campus to Baltimore, which is Love's hometown, and in Chevy Chase, Md., where Huguely grew up.

Jury selections begins Monday and is expected to take at least two days. It will be difficult for prosecutors and defense attorneys to find anyone in this community who hasn't heard of the crime of the two former lovers who were part of an elite group of athletes. A pool of 300 people will be brought in and interviewed as potential jurors.

Once a jury is seated, they will be allowed to see the graphic photographs of Yeardley Love, her face badly bruised, her right eye swollen shut.

On Friday, defense attorneys lost an argument that the images would be inflammatory. Prosecutors say they show the brutality of the violence that lead to Love's death.

Members of the jury will also hear from Love's mother Sharon and her sister Lexie. They will be among the first witnesses to testify, after which they will be allowed to sit and watch the proceedings.

While it's not yet known if Huguely will testify in the trial, his words will be a critical element. His interview with Charlottesville Police after his arrest was videotaped. Court documents spell out that a distraught Huguely told police he burst into Love's apartment the night of May 3, 2010, kicked in her bedroom door in a rage and shook her as her head banged against the bedroom wall.

He left taking her laptop computer which police recovered. Friends later found Love's body in her bed. Her bloody head was on the pillow. She had been covered in blankets.

Huguely's attorneys contend he never intended to kill his ex-girlfriend, that it was an "accident with a tragic outcome."

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