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Huguely trial postponed until Friday

- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The murder trial of George W. Huguely V was postponed a full day Thursday because one of his defense attorneys was ill.

Rhonda Quagliana was absent from the Charlottesville Circuit Court, her seat next to the defendant and former University of Virginia lacrosse player sitting empty. Court recessed for three hours hoping that Ms. Quagliana would feel better.

At 12:30 p.m. she still had not arrived, and Judge Edward Hogshire told the jury to be at the courthouse early Friday to continue hearing defense testimony.

The trial began Feb. 6 and originally was scheduled through Friday. However, a Saturday court day has been added, and the trial has been extended to Feb. 22.

"Time is going to be critical from now on," Judge Hogshire said. "We're hopeful about [Friday] morning."

Ms. Quagliana and Francis McQ. Lawrence were due to begin their first full day of arguments Thursday regarding the death of 22-year-old Yeardley Love, also a Virginia senior and varsity lacrosse player.

Love was found early May 3, 2010, unresponsive in the bedroom of her off-campus apartment. Mr. Huguely, 24, was arrested hours later and charged with first-degree murder.The two had an on-and-off relationship marked by jealousy and excessive drinking.

Prosecutors maintain that Mr. Huguely banged Love's head against the wall, which caused brain damage and subsequent heart failure.

A medical expert for the defense said Wednesday that Love could have died from suffocation while she lay face down in her pillow.

Mr. Huguely reportedly told police that he had wrestled with Love, shook her and may have put his hands on her neck, but he said he didn't strangle Love or bang her head repeatedly against a wall.

Ken Clausen, also a Virginia lacrosse player and friend of Mr. Huguely's and Love's, testified Wednesday that Mr. Huguely lied to his friends about his whereabouts when he rejoined them the night of Love's death and had a "change in his demeanor."

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