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Email: “I should have killed you”

Prosecutors in the trial of former University lacrosse player George Huguely yesterday read from email correspondence between Huguely and ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, in which Huguely said, “I should have killed you.” Huguely stands accused of the first-degree murder of Love.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman introduced a series of emails between the pair, beginning Friday, April 30, 2010, when Love flew to Chicago for a lacrosse game against Northwestern University. Chapman said Huguely sent Love the angry email threatening to kill her because of her alleged relationship with U. North Carolina lacrosse player Mike Burns.

“You said you would get back together with me if I stopped getting so drunk, then you go and f— Burns,” Chapman said, quoting from Huguely’s email to Love.

Defense Attorney Francis Lawrence, however, argued Love did not die from blunt force trauma as the coroner originally reported, but instead from positional asphyxiation, as she was found face-down in her pillow in a pool of blood. He said the paramedics who unsuccessfully performed CPR on Love for 30 minutes could have caused the blood clots in her neck.

“She didn’t die from lethal brain injury,” Lawrence said. “Her obvious injuries weren’t the ones that killed her.”

Lawrence said several times that Huguely went to Love’s apartment that night with the intent of renewing their romantic relationship. He said Huguely took her computer in an attempt to gain “collateral” to get her to instigate communication with him the next morning, and that this was not a theft. Huguely then only disposed of the computer in a drunken, spur-of-the-moment decision, Lawrence said.

“[Huguely] wanted to talk, he wanted to make up, he wanted to work things out,” Lawrence said. “The idea that George set out that night to kill Yeardley and to take the computer is absurd.”

During the opening statement and the testimony of family and friends, lawyers for the Commonwealth attempted to establish a violent history between Huguely and Love in the months before her death.

Love’s roommates, Kaitlin Duff and Caity Whitely, also took the stand, describing the couple’s tumultuous past, which was marred by mutual accusations of infidelity. The relationship had deteriorated in the weeks before Love’s death, they said.

Attorneys on both sides acknowledged that Huguely and Love’s relationship had, at one point at least, been abusive. On Feb. 27, 2010, Burns came into Huguely’s bedroom to find Huguely and Love involved in a physical altercation, which ceased upon his entrance. Chapman said Burns had found Huguely lying on his back on his bed with Love on top of him, with her back to his chest. Huguely’s arm was around Love’s neck and he was choking her.

“By opening the door, Burns saved [Love],” Chapman said.

Lawrence countered by saying that Love had instigated a physical altercation herself with Huguely in April, after discovering that Huguely had started dating another woman. Love allegedly entered Huguely’s bedroom while he had two lacrosse recruits present and began hitting him on the head with her purse. In the two years during which they had dated, Lawrence said, these were their only two instances of intimate partner violence.

Love’s mother Sharon, her sister Lexie and cousin Mary Ryan McChesney took the stand. Through tearful statements, the relatives recounted their experiences when learning of Love’s death as Huguely sat rigidly between his lawyers, never looking at the courtroom but turning occasionally to converse with Lawrence and Defense Attorney Rhonda Quagliona.

Lawrence cautioned the jury to think about Huguely and Love’s altercation in light of the fact that many students participate in a night of drinking, which he called “Sunday Funday.”

“We’re not saying that you should excuse anything George did while intoxicated,” Lawrence said, addressing the jury, but rather recognize Huguely made poor decisions in general that night.


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