(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A brain expert who dissected Yeardley Love’s brain testified at George Huguely’s murder trial on Tuesday that Love experienced an injury of such great force that it “twisted” the blood vessels in her brain, causing the brain to hemorrhage.
Dr. Christine Fuller, a neuropathologist, said there was no indication of a natural cause of death and that the level of brain injury, bleeding and damage on Love’s brain was caused by a powerful blow to the head.
Fuller testified that even without knowing Love’s story, she would have recognized the damage.
“Just looking at the brain without any history I would’ve called it trauma,” she said.
Fuller found contusions, or bruises, on the brain, “which means there has been blunt force trauma to the head,” she said.
A great amount of force is needed to twist the brain’s blood vessels, more than could be sustained from falling on the ground. The injury was consistent with a head banging against a wall, Fuller said.
The damage to the brain would have shut down Love’s heart and lungs, Fuller said, according to ABC News’ affiliate WJLA. Fuller also testified that there was no possibility that Love’s brain injuries could have happened during attempts to resuscitate her.
Tuesday afternoon, medical examiner Bill Gormley returned to the witness stand and testified that Love’s blood alcohol level was 0.14. This is almost more than twice the legal driving limit, but significantly less than the 0.40 minimum usually associated with alcohol-related death, excluding driving accidents caused by alcohol.
A forensic toxicologist also testified that the amount of Adderall found in Love’s body was normal for someone who was prescribed the drug, as she was. Love had a 0.05 concentration of Adderall in her system, and it usually take a concentration between 0.20 and 0.50 to be fatal.
These two testimonies undermine the defense’s claim that Love’s death was could have been caused by a fatal combination of alcohol and Adderall.
The prosecution has said they will rest their case on Wednesday. The trial is expected to last at least through this week.
Huguely, 24, is charged with first degree murder as well as five other charges in the death of Love.
Love, 22, was a star lacrosse player at the University of Virginia and a senior just weeks away from graduation. Huguely was also a lacrosse player for the school’s nationally ranked team.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sam Turner, Deseret News
Madeleine Stix, CNN