Former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V lost his bid for a new trial in the slaying of his ex-girlfriend Wednesday, with the judge in the case saying there was ample evidence to support his conviction.
Charlottesville Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire rejected a defense motion to set aside Huguely's second-degree murder conviction and order a new trial in the May 2010 killing of Yeardley Love, who played for the women's lacrosse team. In arguing for a new trial, attorneys for Huguely cited a series of errors before and during his trial.
"I think there was overwhelming evidence to support the conviction," Hogshire said at the end of a two-and-a-half-hour hearing.
Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., killed 22-year-old Love, of suburban Baltimore, after a day of golf and drinking, incensed that she had had a relationship with a North Carolina lacrosse player. He kicked a hole in Love's door to get in her bedroom and left his on-again, off-again girlfriend to die, according to trial testimony.
Love's right eye was bashed in and she was hit with such power that her brain was bruised. She also had wrenching head injury that caused bleeding at the base of her brain stem.
A coroner concluded she died of blunt force trauma. Defense and prosecution experts offered different medical opinions on the lethal consequences of her injuries.
Huguely's attorneys said he only went to Love's apartment to talk before the encounter quickly turned physical. He said she banged her head against the wall of her bedroom, and she only had a bloody nose when he left.
During Huguely's trial, jurors heard testimony from lacrosse players who told of the player's escalating drinking problem and public spats between the two. The incidents included Huguely putting Love in a chokehold while on his bed, and one in which Love accused him of flirting with two high school girls.
Friends and fellow players said the two were unfaithful to each other and had a fiery relationship.
In a police interrogation video viewed by jurors, Huguely said he simply wanted to discuss their sputtering, two-year relationship. Huguely admitted he may have shaken her but insisted he didn't grab her neck or punch her.
Huguely's parents left the courtroom Wednesday without talking to reporters.
Love's death had a statewide impact, leading to legislation that made it easier for possible abuse victims to get a restraining order in Virginia.
Virginia's General Assembly passed a law that expands criteria under which people can seek protective orders. The measure allows people in dating relationships or those who face threatening co-workers to more easily obtain such an order.
Huguely's sentencing is Aug. 30. He faces up to 26 years in prison.