Jury selection begins in suit over University of Virginia lacrosse player’s death

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jury selection began Monday in the civil trial of a man who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2010 death of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

A wrongful death lawsuit brought by Love’s mother seeks to hold George Huguely V liable in Yeardley’s killing. Love and Huguely — who also played lacrosse at UVA — were in an on-again, off-again dating relationship.

The lawsuit seeks $29.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

Love, of Cockeysville, Maryland, and Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, were both seniors who were weeks away from graduating. They were known for their play on UVA’s nationally ranked men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, but they were also known for their volatile relationship.

Prosecutors said Huguely kicked a hole in Love’s bedroom door, then beat her after a day of golf and binge drinking, enraged that she had had a relationship with a lacrosse player from North Carolina.

A medical examiner concluded the 22-year-old Love died of blunt force trauma to her head, but defense and prosecution experts offered differing medical opinions on the lethal consequences of her injuries.

As jury selection got underway Monday, many of the potential jurors told Judge Richard Moore they had read or heard media reports about the case after Yeardley was killed or during Huguely’s criminal trial in 2012. Moore dismissed three potential jurors who said they had formed an opinion about the case and would be unable to put that opinion aside to serve as jurors in the civil case.

The civil trial is expected to include many of the same witnesses, although many of them are expected to testify in videotaped depositions instead of in person.

Huguely’s attorney, Matthew Green, said the defense will acknowledge that Huguely’s assault and battery caused Love’s death and that her family is entitled to compensatory damages in an amount to be decided by the jury. But he said the defense does not believe punitive damages are appropriate .

Love’s mother and sister, and Huguely’s mother, were present in the courtroom Monday.

Green said Huguely will be brought to court from prison on the day he is scheduled to testify, but not on the other days of the trial.

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