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Va. lacrosse player had no 'intent to kill,' defense attorney says

From InSession's Michael Christian
updated 11:28 PM EST, Sat February 18, 2012
Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old University of Virginia senior lacrosse player, died in May 2010.
Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old University of Virginia senior lacrosse player, died in May 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: George Huguely was "stupid, drunk -- but not calculating," the attorney argues
  • NEW: A witness questions the nature of injuries that led to 22-year-old Yeardley Love's death
  • NEW: A prosecutor asks jurors to hold Huguely "responsible for what he did"
  • NEW: Both sides have rested; the trial is set to resume on Wednesday

Charlottesville, Virginia (CNN) -- A former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend contributed to her death, but did not kill her and had no intent to do so, his attorney argued Saturday.

The defense and prosecution have rested in the murder trial of George Huguely, which is expected to resume on Wednesday.

"Yes, George contributed to her death. But no, he didn't kill her . . . he left there with her alive, and that is not in dispute. There was no intentional killing, because she wasn't dead when he left," defense attorney Francis Lawrence said during his closing statement. "There's no intent to rob, and no intent to kill."

Huguely faces six charges, including robbery and first-degree murder in the May 2010 death of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old senior who was also a lacrosse player. On Saturday, the defendant officially waived his right to testify.

Lawrence described his client as "stupid, drunk -- but not calculating." The defense has said Love's death was an accident.

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

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

"When somebody's little girl doesn't wake up the next day, and there's no reason why they shouldn't ... I ask you to do no more, and no less, than to hold him responsible for what he did," said Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Warner D. Chapman.

At several points during his closing statement, Love's mother and sister cried. Twice, it appeared Chapman was also crying, or chocking back tears.

"It goes without saying that this woman is never going to be able to say what happened to her ... but the evidence proves she was killed in the commission of a robbery," he told the jury.

After closing arguments, the judge had hoped to give the case to jurors, but they felt they were too tired to continue. The trial will resume Wednesday morning and deliberations are expected to begin shortly thereafter.

Prosecutors have claimed all along that Huguely followed through on his intentions to kill Love.

Earlier in the trial, Chapman read e-mails exchanged between the two after Huguely heard Love had allegedly slept with someone else.

The defendant wrote, "I should have killed you," and Love responded, "You should have killed me?" according to Chapman. Huguely responded that the pair should talk, Chapman said.

The prosecutor also told jurors that Love's death was slow and painful, claiming she could have remained alive for a couple of hours after Huguely left her apartment. The defense agrees Love was alive when Huguely left.

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

The defense attorney has said there is no evidence that Love's head hit a wall, and on Saturday, the defense called a witness who questioned the nature of Love's injuries.

Ronald Uscinski, a neurosurgeon, testified it was "possible, but less likely" that the victim's brain injuries were the result of blunt force trauma.

Huguely has been held for nearly two years. If he's convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the most time he could serve is 10 years.

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