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Defense In Huguely Trial Presents Alternate Cause Of Death

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Defense attorneys for former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V began making their case in his murder trial Wednesday, after the prosecution rested its case

Huguely is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, at the Charlottesville, Va. university in May of 2010.

The prosecution called more than 50 witnesses before resting Wednesday, the last of whom, Ken Clausen, was a lacrosse teammate of Huguely's, according to Associated press. Clausen testified that Huguely's mood changed swiftly the night his ex-girlfriend was found.

During prosecution testimony, Clausen and another witness described what they called a "blank stare" from Huguely after Love's body was found, and detailed Huguely's heavy drinking May 2, 2010 -- the day before Love was found dead in her Charlottesville apartment. 

An autopsy showed she died of blunt force trauma. The defense claims Love's death was accidental.

The defense began its presentation with Dr. Jan E. Leestema, a medical expert who said he believed Love was asphyxiated from lying face down in a damp, bloody pillow, AP reports. The expert did not speculate as to how Love ended up that way, and prosecution shot back with questions about how much the Leestema had been paid for his testimony, according to NBC Washington. Leestema said he was paid $8,000. 

In a police interrogation interview, Huguely acknowledged that the couple's final encounter turned physical. He told a detective that he "shook her a little" but did not hit her. He said she hit her own head against the wall.

Huguely has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. He could be sentenced to life in prison.

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