- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A University of North Carolina lacrosse player testified Thursday that he responded to a cry for help and saw George W. Huguely V choking his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love, three months before she was killed.

Michael Burns, who said he occasionally saw Love romantically in the months before the 22-year-old University of Virginia student was found dead from blunt-force trauma in her off-campus apartment, described seeing Mr. Huguely with a chokehold on Love.

“I went into George’s apartment, opened the door and saw George with his arm around Yeardley’s neck,” he said. “They were both on the bed. George was lying on his back, Yeardley was lying on her back on top of George. He had his arm around her neck.”

He testified a day after Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman made public an email to Love in which Mr. Huguely wrote, in part, “I should have killed you.”

Prosecutors showed jurors photos of Love’s battered body and questioned emergency medical personnel and detectives who responded to the scene.

Mr. Huguely, 24, of Chevy Chase has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the death of Love, his onetime girlfriend, on May 3, 2010. Both were seniors at the time and both played lacrosse on the university’s nationally ranked teams.

Another witness, University of Virginia graduate Stephanie Aladj, testified that she and Mr. Huguely had engaged in a romantic relationship while Mr. Huguely and Love continued to see each other.

“Sometimes George would tell me they were not dating or Yeardley [and several friends] would tell me they were dating,” Ms. Aladj said.

During another encounter in late April, just before Love’s death, witnesses said Love confronted Mr. Huguely in his apartment while he was sitting with three women.

“She said, ‘Are these your new girlfriends? Are these the girls you’ve been texting?’” recalled university student Kate Kamber, who was in the room at the time.

Ms. Kamber said Mr. Huguely responded in a “calm, collected” way, saying something like, “You crazy bitch,” or “You crazy slut.”

Elizabeth McLean, who was also in the apartment during the incident, told the jury that she heard Love hitting Mr. Huguely with her purse and its contents spilling onto the floor. She helped Love collect her belongings and walked her outside.

The testimony, which started about 10 a.m. and extended past 6 p.m., suggested a troubled, on-again, off-again relationship between Mr. Huguely and Love that was subject to fits of intense jealousy and complicated by bouts of excessive drinking that led Mr. Huguely’s teammates to consider an intervention.

Mr. Burns said he met Love two years earlier and that he had “hooked up” with her on several occasions throughout the course of her college career — as recently as the week before her death.

He described hearing calls for help on Feb. 27, 2010, during a party after a university lacrosse game.

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