- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The murder trial of George W. Huguely V was delayed for a second day because of an ill attorney, setting up a busy Saturday in which the defense is expected to conclude its case before closing arguments.

Francis McQ. Lawrence, an attorney for Mr. Huguely, told Judge Edward Hogshire that his client did not “feel comfortable, [didn’t] feel protected,” without both of his defense attorneys beside him in “the case of his life.”

“He’s 24-years-old,” Mr. Lawrence said. “I don’t blame him for feeling that.”

Rhonda Quagliana, has handled crucial testimony from medical experts, but for two days she has suffered from an illness that, Mr. Lawrence said, includes “projectile vomiting.

Judge Hogshire agreed to postpone the testimony of two medical experts until Ms. Quagliana was present but told the attorneys “this case is going forward.”

The trial will reconvene Saturday at 9 a.m.

Five witnesses testified Friday, including an expert witness who testified about a piece of wall taken from the bedroom of 22-year-old Yeardley Love. Prosecutors have said Mr. Huguely slammed Love’s head repeatedly against her bedroom wall during a drunken fight.

But Michael Woodhouse, a bio-mechanical consultant, appeared to refute that version of events in his testimony.

“There was no head contact with that,” Mr. Woodhouse said of the segment of wall he analyzed. “There was no evidence of any impact profile.”

Mr. Huguely pleaded not guilty last week to a first-degree murder charge and five other charges related to the theft of Love’s laptop.

A computer support expert brought in by the defense testified the laptop, which was found in a dumpster near her apartment, was worth between $100 and $150, making it worth less than the $200 required for Grand Larceny charges in Virginia.

Mr. Huguely told police he took the computer for “collateral,” while prosecutors have argued that he took the computer to hide an incriminating email he sent that said “I should have killed you.”

Friends, teammates and roommates of Mr. Huguely and Love testified throughout the last eight days that the two students, both lacrosse players who had formerly dated, had a roller coaster relationship marred by jealous outbursts and excessive drinking.

One witness described an evening shortly before Love’s death, when Love confronted Mr. Huguely.

Alice Billmire told the jury she was in Mr. Huguely’s apartment with a friend when Love entered the room, asking how Mr. Huguely knew the girls.

“She walked up to George on the couch and they were kind of yelling at each other,” Ms. Billmire said. “She kind of hit him with her purse and he got up from the couch and backed away.”

Alina Massaro, Mr. Huguely’s aunt, was the first family member to testify for the defense. She reviewed a security tape taken from May 1, 2010, at a restaurant near Love’s apartment. On that night, lacrosse players and their friends and family gathered after the last game of the season.

Alternating between referring to him as “George” and “Georgie,” Ms. Massaro identified her nephew holding hands with Love, who was wearing a striped shirt and also took time to talk to Mr. Huguely’s cousins.

Ms. Massaro also said she had met Love at a family dinner in 2009.

“She was really kind with the kids and very sweet,” Ms. Massaro said.