Jury selection in trial of ex-UVa lacrosse player

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By ZINIE CHEN SAMPSON, Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jury selection continued Tuesday in the case of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in a case that rocked the picturesque campus.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys were seeking a pool of 27 potential jurors from which to choose 12 jurors and three alternates for the first-degree murder trial of George Huguely V. He has been charged in the May 2010 death of Yeardley Love, a member of the university women's lacrosse team.

In a process that began Monday, lawyers asked potential jurors about their knowledge of the case and whether they had formed opinions on Huguely's guilt or innocence. Attorneys also asked the candidates about other issues, including views on alcohol and domestic violence.

Twenty-five potential jurors were seated by late Tuesday afternoon. Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire allowed them to go home for the night with instructions barring them from viewing any media coverage of the case. They were to return Wednesday morning.

Once 27 potential jurors have been attained, both sides are to choose six to dismiss. Opening statements were expected to start Wednesday in a trial expected to last about two weeks.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree murder and five other charges related to the death of Love, of Cockeysville, Md. He watched the proceedings Tuesday while seated between his lawyers at a table.

Court documents allege the 24-year-old defendant told investigators he kicked in Love's bedroom door, then shook her during an argument, causing her head to hit a wall several times. The state medical examiner's office said the 22-year-old Love died of trauma to the head.

Huguely's lawyers contend the woman died from an irregular heartbeat partly caused by taking a prescription drug and drinking alcohol.

Huguely and Love had been involved in a two-year relationship that ended not long before her death, according to authorities. The woman's death occurred at the end of the 2009-10 school year when both would have graduated, stunning many on the 21,000-student campus in Charlottesville.

Hogshire issued an order barring defense attorneys, prosecutors and Charlottesville police from commenting on the case.

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