George Huguely Trial: Yeardley Love's Brain Hemorrhaged from Force

A brain expert testified that blunt force trauma to the head killed Love.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Feb. 14, 2012 — -- A brain expert who dissected Yeardley Love's brain testified at George Huguely's murder trial today that Love experienced an injury of such great force that it "twisted" the blood vessels in her brain, causing the brain to hemorrhage.

Dr. Christine Fuller, a neuropathologist, said there was no indication of a natural cause of death and that the level of brain injury, bleeding and damage on Love's brain was caused by a powerful blow to the head.

Fuller testified that even without knowing Love's story, she would have recognized the damage.

"Just looking at the brain without any history I would've called it trauma," she said.

Fuller found contusions, or bruises on the brain, "which means there has been blunt force trauma to the head," she said.

A great amount of force is needed to twist the brain's blood vessels, more than could be sustained from falling on the ground. The injury was consistent with a head banging against a wall, Fuller said.

The damage to the brain would have shut down Love's heart and lungs, Fuller said, according to ABC News' affiliate WJLA. Fuller also testified that there was no possibility that Love's brain injuries could have happened during attempts to resuscitate her.

This afternoon, medical examiner Bill Gormley returned to the witness stand and testified that Love's blood alcohol level was 0.14. This is almost more than twice the legal driving limit, but significantly less than the 0.40 minimum usually associated with alcohol-related death, excluding driving.

A forensic toxicologist also testified that the amount of Adderall found in Love's body was normal for someone who was prescribed the drug, as she was. Love had a 0.05 concentration of Adderall in her system, and it usually take a concentration between 0.20 and 0.50 to be fatal.

These two testimonies undermine the defense's claim that Love's death was could have been caused by a fatal combination of alcohol and Adderall.

The prosecution has said they will rest their case on Wednesday. The trial is expected to last at least through this week.

Huguely, 24, is charged with first degree murder as well as five other charges in the death of Love.

Love, 22, was a star lacrosse player at the school and a senior just weeks away from graduation. Huguely was also a lacrosse player for the school's nationally ranked team.

Before finding out Love was dead, Huguely told police in his video-taped statement that when he went to see his former girlfriend the night of her death he told her to "chill out" and "shook her a little."

"We were just going to talk," Huguely told the officer in the video. "It was not at all a good conversation."

Huguely said that while he was trying to talk to Love, she repeatedly banged her own head against a wall.

The police officer asked Huguely if he choked her or punched her in the neck.

"I may have grabbed her a bit by the neck, but I never strangled her," Huguely said. "We were wrestling. I pushed her onto the bed and left."

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Huguely had also told police that he had as many as 20 drinks that day before going to see his ex-girlfriend at night.

Today's testimonies were a continuation of a line-up of medical witnesses that began on Thursday.

Gormley told the court on Thursday that he discovered bruises to Love's chest, knuckles, forearms, lower back, buttocks and upper thigh area.

Gormley said that bruising discovered under Love's chin, inside lip and abrasions on her cheek could be consistent with smothering. He did not specify how she could have been suffocated, but said the hemorrhaging of tissue found under her neck "could reflect pressure, which could've led to death."

Smothering, however, was not the cause of death, he told the court.

"Dissection of soft tissue under Love's neck showed hemorrhaging that suggests pressure of blunt force trauma," Gormley said.

Love's official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.