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Posted at 07:51 PM ET, 02/21/2012

George Huguely murder trial jury begins deliberations

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Jurors in George Huguely’s trial began deliberating Wednesday morning, working to decide whether the former University of Virginia lacrosse player is guilty of murder, a lesser crime or none at all.

Seven men and seven women have listened to two weeks of testimony in the case, and they returned to the courtroom Wednesday. Two women were randomly chosen and dismissed as alternates, leaving a dozen jurors to decide Huguely’s fate.

Prosecutors contend that an angry Huguely went to the off-campus apartment of his sometime girlfriend, Yeardley Love, late on May 2, 2010. The two fought, and he left her unable to move and bleeding in her pillow, prosecutors said. A roommate found her dead hours later.

Defense attorneys told jurors that Huguely was drunk that night and made bad choices, but left Love alive. They urged jurors to reject a charge of premeditated murder.

“George played a role, but overwhelmingly it's a tragedy,”one of Huguely’s attorneys, Francis McQ. Lawrence, said in his closing argument.

Each side presented testimony from experts who came to different conclusions about how Love died. The Virginia medical examiner’s office ruled that she suffered blunt-force trauma to the head; a neuropathologist who testified for the defense said Love probably suffocated after she was thrown into her pillow, which was wet with blood.

Huguely has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and five other charges in connection with Love’s death. The two U-Va. students were accomplished lacrosse players on the verge of graduation: Huguely is from Chevy Chase; and Love, 22, was from Cockeysville, Md.

For updates from the trial, you can follow Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) on Twitter.

More coverage of the trial:

In Huguely murder trial, videotape could be key

In closing argument, prosecutor says Huguely left Love unable to move

In Huguely trial, video shows another side of relationship with Love

Huguely pleads not guilty in Love’s slaying

By and  |  07:51 PM ET, 02/21/2012

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