CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—Following the dismissal of the jury from the courtroom here Friday morning, defense and prosecution attorneys debated jury instructions at the first-degree murder trial of Chevy Chase native George Huguely V.
The instructions will guide jury members as they decide on a verdict for Huguely, who is on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, of Cockeysville. Both played lacrosse at the University of Virginia.
The case will be given to the jury after Huguely’s defense team finishes calling its witnesses, which could happen Saturday. Delays this week related to a sick defense attorney forced Judge Edward Hogshire to order the two-week-long trial to continue on Saturday at 9 a.m.
More than 30 instructions related to Huguely’s six charges were discussed in court on Friday, many of which were debated between prosecutor Dave Chapman and defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence. Huguely has been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, grand larceny, statutory burglary, burglary and robbery.
In debating an instruction, Chapman said, "They need to know, with crystal clarity and no room for mistake, that the claim of accident has no relevance to felony murder," which is one of the charges Huguely faces.
The defense has called Love's death a "tragic accident," USA Today reported.
To be found guilty of felony murder, the prosecution would need to prove Huguely committed or attempted to commit a qualifying felony—such as robbery—and Love's death resulted from it, even if her death was an accident, according to criminal defense attorney John Zwerling, of Alexandria, VA.
Zwerling is not connected to the case, but has observed portions of the proceedings.
Huguely could also be found guilty of felony murder if the jury decides he entered Love's apartment with the intent to assault her and her death resulted, Zwerling said.
Huguely is also facing felony charges relating to the theft of Love's laptop. If the value of the laptop—the subject of debate in court Friday—is less than $200, the charge would not qualify as a felony, however.
Witnesses expected to testify Friday were also briefly called into the courtroom and instructed to return Saturday.