CHARLOTTESVILLE — Ever since George Huguely V walked into the courtroom last week, spectators and reporters have commented that he has lost a considerable amount of weight since 2010, when the six-foot-two University of Virginia lacrosse player weighed in at more than 200 pounds. These days, Huguely's suit coats often look one or two sizes too big.
Huguely’s size has become an issue during his murder trial in the May 2010 death of his on-and-off girlfriend, Yeardley Love, also a U-Va student. Prosecutors allege that Huguely, of Chevy Chase, kicked through Love’s door, shook her until her head banged against a wall and left her bleeding. Huguely, 24, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and five other charges.
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On Tuesday, jurors will continue to hear the prosecution’s case unfold. It is likely they will hear additional testimony from a state medical examiner who on Monday began to detail Love’s injuries, which included bruises on her chest, arm, calf and knee.
During several days of testimony so far, Commonwealth's Attorney Warner “Dave” Chapman has repeatedly noted the difference in size between Huguely and Love at the time of her death.
Jurors have seen photos of Love — who was slim and athletic — taken before her death and crime scene photos showing her body. They have also seen a video and photos taken of Huguely on the day of his arrest. But to give them a fuller idea of how the two compared, Chapman has used witnesses in demonstrations.
When Love's roommate and fellow lacrosse player Caitlin Whiteley testified on Wednesday, Chapman told the slim woman to step out of the witness box and asked her height. “Five foot four,” she said. When Chapman asked how Love's height compared, Whiteley said: “She was about three inches taller.” And Chapman asked how their weights compared, without giving a number. “She was about three inches taller, but we probably weighed about the same.”
On Monday morning, Chapman repeated a similar exercise with Officer Jeremy Carper, who search Huguely on the morning of his arrest. The stocky officer stood before the jury, as Chapman asked his height -- ”six foot” — and weight — “about 200 pounds.” Chapman asked the officer how his own height and weight compared to that of Huguely in 2010. Carper replied that Huguely was “maybe a little bit taller” and “maybe a little heavier.”
Chapman also used a witness in a demonstration when former University of North Carolina lacrosse player, Michael Burns, testified on Thursday about seeing Huguely put his arm around Love's neck in a “choke hold” in February 2010. Burns then stood before the jury and put his arm around Chapman's neck in the same way.
In his videotaped police statement aired in court, Huguely said he had shaken Love “a little bit” and “may have grabbed her a little bit around the neck.” But he said he had not strangled her or hit her in the face on the night he went to talk to her about their jealousy-tinged arguments.
In the police interview, Huguely said Love was bleeding from her nose when he left, but not so badly he thought she needed medical care.
The defense has indicated it will challenge the medical examiner’s ruling that Love died from blunt force trauma and counter with medical witnesses who will say Love could have died died from an irregular heartbeat brought on by Adderall, a drug prescribed to treat attention-deficit problems.
See below for Twitter updates from Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna), who’s covering the trial: