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Judge denies defense access to medical records of slain U-Va. student Yeardley Love

Virginia's players honor deceased teammate Yeardley Love in their 14-12 victory over Towson in the NCAA tournament.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 10:57 PM

A Charlottesville judge ruled Wednesday that defense attorneys cannot review years of medical records of the University of Virginia women's lacrosse player slain in May, saying the documents contained nothing out of the ordinary or relevant to the case.

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In a hearing that lasted about five minutes, General District Court Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. said attorneys forGeorge Huguely V, who is charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, could look at Love's prescription for Adderall but nothing else in her medical records. He said that those records generally were not germane to the case but that they showed Love had not taken any non-prescribed prescription drugs and had no unusual problems with dieting.

Defense attorneys had sought the records in an attempt to prove Love died of cardiac arrhythmia causing insufficient blood flow to the head rather than blunt force trauma inflicted by Huguely. The state medical examiner had ruled that Love died of blunt force trauma to the head.

According to a police affidavit, Huguely, 22, admitted that he had been "involved in an altercation" in which "he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall."

A defense expert disputed the medical examiner's finding at a hearing last week. He said his working hypothesis was that Love's vascular system suffered from a lack of oxygen that contributed to her death. Witnesses testified that Love, 22, had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 and that amphetamine in her body indicated that she had taken Adderall.

The judge's ruling, though, seems to undercut that hypothesis as a defense for Huguely. Commenting on the records he had reviewed, Downer said there was nothing "remotely embarrassing or unusual for a woman who is a student athlete." The defense expert testified that cardiac arrhythmia probably occurred after the blunt force injuries that Love suffered.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, remains jailed until a preliminary hearing in January.


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