April 11, 2011
After a nine hour preliminary hearing Monday, Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. found probable cause in the George Huguely case. The case will now move before a grand jury. Huguely faces six felony counts, including the murder of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.
The grand jury is expected to take on the case April 18 to decide whether to formally indict Huguely on the six counts.
The preliminary hearing for Huguely began at 1pm Monday in Charlottesville Circuit Court. The families of both Huguely and slain University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love were in attendance, and sat on opposite sides of the courtroom.
Judge Downer received a statement from Huguely and his defense attorneys, Fran Lawrence and Rhonda Quagliana, but did not read it aloud. The former University of Virginia lacrosse player waived his right to appear in person and was to appear via videoconference. However, CBS19 has confirmed he did not.
The defense began the court proceedings by outlining its evidence. They contend that Huguely did not have any intention or reason to kill his ex-girlfriend in the early hours of May 3, 2010. Attorneys added that their client did not even know Love was dead. Huguely repeatedly asked police how she was doing.
The detective finally responded: "She's dead. You killed her, George."
Quagliana stated: "George Huguely only learned that Yeardley Love had died when he was told that by a detective, he did not believe that such a terrible thing could have happened."
Among 21 witnesses subpoenaed by the defense were friends who attorneys said will testify that Huguely was drunk the night of May 2, 2010 but not angry.
The defense concluded its outline by saying no blood was found on the walls of Love's 14th Street apartment, where she was found dead after allegedly being attacked by Huguely. They also said a hand written note from Huguely to Love was found in her bedroom.
It read: "You are my best friend."
Commonwealth Attorney Dave Chapman's first witness, Caity Whiteley, was with the former couple hours before Love's death. She told the court everyone was at Boylan Heights, a popular Corner bar, for a teammate's birthday. Love's former roommate and UVa lacrosse teammate went on to say everyone was drinking, but that her childhood friend only had a few drinks and was not drunk.
Whiteley testified that Love was feeling tired at the bar and decided to go home, so the two walked back to their nearby apartment together. Once Love was back home, Whiteley left to go back to Boylan Heights.
Whiteley then described the scene she found when she returned home, revealing the intimate details of the condition of Love's body. She told Judge Downer she returned home shortly after 2am on May 3 with a friend from the men's tennis team. Love was face down on her bed. Whiteley says as soon as she moved Love to wake her, she saw Love's bloodied, bruised and swollen face.
Whiteley added that Love and Huguely's relationship was on-again-off-again and Huguely had been trying to get Love back.
Then, first responding officers described the scene they found when they entered Love's apartment on the early morning of May 3. They stated there was blood on Love's floor, bedsheets, pillow, and comforter. Pictures of the scene were shown only to the judge.
Huguely's Attorneys countered, saying the testimony clarifies several misconceptions.
"The scene in the apartment was far different from reports that describe it in the days after the incident. There was no damage to the walls, the apartment and furniture were not disturbed," said Quagliana.