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Jury selection under way in college lacrosse player's murder trial

From Jean Casarez, InSession
updated 3:51 PM EST, Mon February 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: George Huguely pleads not guilty
  • Suspect and victim were members of the college's highly ranked lacrosse teams
  • The prosecution contends Huguely fatally injured Yeardley Love during a fight
  • The defense calls the death a "tragic" accident

Charlottesville, Virginia (CNN) -- Jury selection in the trial of a University of Virginia lacrosse player who is accused of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend got off to a slow start Monday.

Many who were questioned were dismissed because they said they already knew too much about the case, were emotionally invested and did not believe they could be fair and impartial jurors.

George Huguely faces charges including first-degree murder in the May 2010 death of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old senior who was also a lacrosse player.

Early Monday, he appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. Love's mother wiped away tears as the charges were read.

Police were initially called to Love's off-campus Charlottesville apartment by a roommate who reported "a possible alcohol overdose," said Police Chief Tim Longo at the time.

"It was quickly apparent to them this young lady was the victim of something far worse," Longo said.

A medical examiner ruled that blunt force trauma killed Love, and authorities allege Huguely caused it during an altercation.

"George Huguely admitted on May 3, 2010, that he was involved in an altercation with Yeardly Love and that during the course of the altercation he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall," Charlottesville Police Detective Lisa Reeves wrote in a sworn statement used to obtain a search warrant in the case.

Love had "a large bruise on the right side of her face which appears to have been caused by blunt force trauma," according to the document. She was found face-down in a pool of blood.

Love and Huguely played on their school's highly ranked lacrosse teams.

The death of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love was the result of a \
The death of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love was the result of a "tragic" accident, the defense says.

Huguely admitted to kicking open the door to Love's bedroom after he found her apartment door unlocked, according to the detective's affidavit.

He also admitted he took her computer from her apartment, Reeves wrote. It was later found by police after Huguely told them where he disposed of it, she said.

Huguely's lawyers contend Love's death was a "tragic" accident.

"George Huguely only learned that Yeardley Love had died when he was told that by a detective," attorney Rhonda Quagliana told reporters soon after Huguely's arrest.

Ahead of Monday's trial, a crush of reporters descended on the college town.

"It's attention to a trial by the national media that we haven't seen here before," university spokesman Ric Barrick told CNN affiliate WJZ.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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