George Huguely Trial: Huguely Had 'No Intent' to Kill, Was a 'Stupid Drunk,' Defense Says

Defense called Huguely a 'stupid drunk' and 'boy athlete' in closing argument.

February 18, 2012, 4:31 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Feb. 18, 2012 — -- Defense attorney Fran Lawrence began his closing arguments in the murder trial of former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V with his hand on Huguely's back, emphasizing repeatedly that his client had "no intent" to kill Yeardley Love.

"There's sorrow and loss and sadness on this side of the courtroom as well," Lawrence said. "You're the only 14 people in the world that know what happened.

"George played a role, but it's overwhelmingly a tragedy," Lawrence said, maintaining that there was no intent to kill. "He contributed to her death but he did not kill her. He left her there alive and that's not up for dispute."

He referred to Huguely as a "stupid drunk" and "boy athlete" who was not calculating or malicious. Lawrence said Huguely went to Love's apartment to talk to her and to make up, not to kill her.

Lawrence said Huguely and Love were living in a "lacrosse ghetto" of attractive twenty-somethings and that the drama of romance led them to "jilt" each other.

"This is not about making Yeardley out to be the bad guy," he said.

The attorney said Huguely's "I should have killed you" email was an expression, not a threat, which he likened to a parent telling a child, "I will crush you."

The attorney contradicted the prosecution's claim that Huguely slammed Love's head against a wall, saying that Love may have fallen.

Lawrence told jurors to re-watch the video of Huguely's police statement and that they would see from his reactions that he had "no clue" Love was hurt or dead.

The defense attorney reminded jurors of a surveillance tape they saw Friday from the burger bar Boylan Heights the night before Love died that showed her and Huguely holding hands.

"The Boylan Heights Saturday was real," Lawrence said. "It was an affectionate moment between them."

Lawrence told jurors that alcohol ruined Huguely's life, but that he never intended to kill Love.

"Involuntary manslaughter needs your careful consideration," Lawrence said. "If you have any hesitation, that's a reasonable doubt."

Follow ABC News' Cleopatra Andreadis on Twitter for the latest on the trial.

Prosecutor Warner "Dave" Chapman delivered emotional closing arguments earlier today, crying as he delivered his final remarks to jurors.

Chapman teared up as he gave the jury his account of the moments leading up to Virginia woman's lacrosse player Yeardley Love's death.

"She couldn't scream ... was it his hand over her mouth? Was it her face being mashed into the floor?" the attorney said. Huguely was almost a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than Love. "She never had a chance."

Chapman read from the letter of apology Huguely sent to Love in February 2010 following an incident in which he had been caught holding a terrified Love in a choke hold. The letter was found in Love's desk drawer after her death.

"Alcohol is ruining my life," Chapman read from Huguely's letter. "I'm scared to know that I can get that drunk to the point where I cannot control how I act."

Jurors were shown the letter earlier in the trial, but its content had not been available to the public or media.

The prosecutor again addressed the email from his opening statement in which Huguely wrote to Love, "I should have killed you," after he found out that she had been with another man.

"These messages convey the depth of his anger and hard feeling toward Yeardley Love," Chapman said.

"Can you imagine the sight and sound and fury?" Chapman asked of the moment when Huguely kicked a hole through Love's bedroom door in order to get in. "She's freaked out at what's come through the door. First his foot. Then him."

The attorney said Huguely made no effort to help Love knowing that she was injured after their encounter and said he lied to his friends about where he had been because of what he had done. He said Huguely's acts were intentional, not accidental, and that "voluntary intoxication" is no defense.

Chapman described the neatness of Love's room and said, "This woman wouldn't lie willingly face down in the mess of a pool of blood."

"He left her facedown, hair covering her face," Chapman said. He asked the jurors to imagine what Love was feeling and showed photos of her battered face. He told them her severe injuries could not have come from one blow to the head.

The attorney questioned why, if Huguely hadn't beaten Love to a point where she was disabled, did she let him leave with her laptop or not call for help after he left?

"This wasn't battle royale. Over quick. Silenced quickly. Hand over mouth. Right forearm. Face mashed into floor," Chapman said.

After the closing arguments, jurors decided they were too tired to begin deliberations so court will reconvene on Wednesday at 9 a.m. due to Monday's holiday and a grand jury day previously set for Tuesday.

The jury is made up of 14 people: 12 main jurors and two alternates. There are seven women and seven men, ranging from their late 20s to early 50s.

Jury Options for George Huguely's Possible Convictions

Huguely was charged with first-degree murder, but jurors were also given the options of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

There are two theories under which Huguely could be found guilty of first-degree murder. The first is premeditation, that he had formed a purpose to kill her before doing so.

"The purpose doesn't have to be formed a long time [before], it could be formed quickly right before the killing, but they have to decide that his intent was to kill her," University of Virginia law professor Anne Coughlin told

The second charge that could lead jurors to a first-degree murder conviction, the felony murder count, does not involve premeditation.

"If they can prove the underlying felony, that he broke in to take her laptop and that he caused her death in the course of the felony, it could still be first-degree murder without premeditation," Coughlin said.

Jurors' could also decide on second-degree murder, a "more elusive category to define," according to Coughlin.

"It's a killing without premeditation but with malice," she said. "We're looking for some callousness or hardness of heart, which could be established by proof that he didn't intend to kill her but hurt her badly and then left her there to die."

Voluntary manslaughter could be the conviction if jurors viewed the alleged killing as a sudden act of "passion because of provocation."

"The idea could be that he was enraged because of fights of the past, fights of that evening ... that he did lash out in a homicidal way," Coughlin said.

The jurors' final option, aside from a not guilty verdict, is involuntary manslaughter, the charge that Huguely's defense attorney said in opening statements should be the harshest outcome jurors should even consider.

"The question is whether he actually caused her death in the course of committing an unlawful act or if he behaved with some kind or recklessness," Coughlin said.

In total, Huguely has been charged with six counts: first-degree murder, felony murder in a robbery or attempted robbery, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with the intention to commit a felony and grand larceny.

"I think the jury will be persuaded that [Huguely] engaged in conduct that caused her death and there was some sufficient culpability," Coughlin said. "The issue is how culpable. How culpable was his mental state?"

"We know that he was in that room, that there was some conduct that caused death and the issue is what was in his mind?" she said.

The possible sentences for the range of charges and possible conviction are anywhere from one year to life in prison.

"So you can see the stakes involved for both sides," Coughlin said. "It's huge. And it all comes down to his mental state."

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