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Appeals court expands ex-U.Va. lax star’s appeal

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s Court of Appeals will take a broader look at an appeal by a former University of Virginia lacrosse player convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend.

The court ruled late Friday that three additional issues can be argued during the appeal of George W. Huguely V. The Chevy Chase, man is asking that the court overturn his conviction of second-degree murder in the May 2010 beating death of Yeardley Love in the bedroom of her Charlottesville apartment.

The appeals court already had agreed to hear arguments on two trial errors claimed by Huguely’s attorneys, but it was asked June 11 to broaden the basis of the appeal to include other issues raised after his conviction.

Huguely’s attorneys wrote in an email Monday they were pleased the court agreed to expand the appeal.

“At issue in this appeal is whether George received a fair trial consistent with constitutional guarantees,” one of Huguely’s appellate attorneys, Paul Clement, wrote. “We are very pleased that the Court of Appeals has expanded the appeal to include all the issues that go to the heart of the fairness of the trial and the validity of George’s conviction.”

The attorney general’s office declined comment.

The court had previously agreed to consider whether Huguely was denied the right to counsel when one of his attorneys fell ill during the trial. The case moved forward in her absence while she recovered. It also was considering whether a prospective juror should have been struck from hearing the case after she voiced doubts about her impartiality.

Clement last week asked the judges to consider whether other jurors were also seated improperly after they voiced similar opinions, including one who said the slaying had put the university in a bad light and that male athletes tended to be violent.

The court also will hear arguments on whether defense attorneys were incorrectly barred from asking some disqualifying questions during jury selection and whether the trial judge improperly instructed jurors on the second-degree murder charge.

Love, who was 22 and from suburban Baltimore, and Huguely had a turbulent relationship that included infidelities and arguments that turned physical, according to testimony at Huguely’s trial in Charlottesville. Love was found dead in her apartment early on the morning of May 3, 2010, after Huguely kicked in the door to her bedroom and beat her.

The killing occurred after a day of drinking by Huguely.