Doctor testifies Yeardley Love died of asphyxia

Feb. 16, 2012 at 8:25 AM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A physician testified University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love died of asphyxia, not blunt-force trauma to her head, as prosecutors have maintained.

Dr. Jan Edward Leestma, a neuropathologist who testified Wednesday at the murder trial of George W. Huguely V, suggested intracranial hemorrhages in Love's brain resulted not from severe impact or force but efforts by paramedics to resuscitate her after her body was discovered just before 2 a.m. last May 3, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Leestma testified as the defense opened its case in the trial of Huguely, 24, whose lawyers say he was too drunk to recall what happened or to have had the clarity of mind to plan the death of Love, his former girlfriend.

Prosecution experts testified earlier in the week hemorrhages resulted from trauma Love experienced that broke blood vessels deep inside her head and that there was no indication blood was pushed into Love's brain cavity from efforts to revive her.

Love, a 22-year-old from Cockeysville, Md., died about 2 hours after Huguely threw her on her bed about midnight and left her apartment while she lay face-down bleeding into a pillow and bedsheets, testimony showed

Prosecutors alleged Huguely was angry at Love and shook her until her head hit a wall. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. He allegedly told police after his arrest that he had shaken Love "a little bit" during an argument but that she didn't seem badly hurt when he left.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., is charged with felony murder, first-degree murder, robbery, breaking and entering, and grand larceny.

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