Defense Witnesses Take Stand At Huguely Trial

Defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana, who had prepped to question two medical witnesses, is still sick.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—Witnesses continued to take the stand Friday morning in the murder trial of George Huguely, despite the absence of defense co-counsel Rhonda Quagliana.

The Chevy Chase man is charged in the 2010 death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love of Cockeysville. Both Love, then 22, and Huguely, 24, played lacrosse at the University of Virginia.

Defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence told Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire that Quagliana was prepped to question the defense's two remaining medical witnesses, which he said is important to their case.

Quagliana has handled medical issues from the "first day" of the case, which has been ongoing for two years, Lawrence said. She spent "hundreds of hours" consulting with the doctors expected to testify.

"She is prepped in that area, I am not," Lawrence said.

Her illness delayed trial proceedings on Thursday.

In Quagliana's absence, questioning of non-medical witnesses moved forward.

Two women who visited Huguely at his apartment on the night of April 27, 2010 testified that he acted kindly toward them. The witnesses, Caroline Wattenmaker and Alice Billmire, added that Love, who was in the apartment, appeared angry and frustrated.

Love asked Huguely if he had texted the women previously, Wattenmaker said, and later hit him with her purse. Witnesses had testifed earlier that the two had been unfaithful to one another, according to The Washington Post.

Huguely's aunt and godmother Alina Massara, a Pittsburgh, PA resident, stated that on May 1, 2010, two days before Love's death, the couple seemed happy together at Boylan Heights, a Charlottesville bar and restaurant. She narrated video surveillance footage presented to the jury, which she said showed the couple holding hands and conversing with her two older daughters at the bar.

Biochemical consultant Michael Woodhouse, who also took the stand, said that a piece of wallboard from Love's apartment did not show any evidence of impact. The prosecution previously alleged that Huguely shook Love and her head banged against the wall.

Ben Richard Thomas, a computer expert called by Huguely's attorney, testified  that the value of Love's laptop, which Huguely is accused of stealing, is between $100 and $150; below the $200 minimum required to charge for grand larceny in Virginia. The prosecution disputed Thomas' estimation.

At around 11 a.m., Hogshire dismissed the jury until 9 a.m. Saturday because of Quagliana's inability to proceed. Lawrence said his co-counsel had been "projectile vomiting."

The defense has sought to disprove the prosecution's argument that Love died of blunt force trauma to the head. On Wednesday, the defense called neuropathologist Jan Leestma to the stand. She testified that Love could have suffocated on a bloody pillow, The Post reported.

Lawrence said he expects the defense could wrap up their case on Saturday.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated from its original version to include more information


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