George Huguely's lawyer is portraying Yeardley Love's death as an accident, but CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford says that defense isn't likely to fly.
Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage said in a statement late Tuesday that the men's and women's teams "will represent the University of Virginia as they always have" if selected for the NCAA tournament, as expected, and play to honor the memory" of Love.
The announcement came at the end of a dark two days for Virginia lacrosse.
Describing a scene of violent rage, court documents revealed that Huguely, a senior on the men's team, told police he kicked in Love's bedroom door, shook her, and that her head repeatedly hit the wall. Love was found bloodied and dead by friends early Monday.
The 22-year-old suspect, of Chevy Chase, Md., has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Love, also 22. Both were expected to graduate this month.
Huguely was not present at a court hearing Tuesday, but appeared via videoconference from Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, wearing a gray-striped uniform.
His lawyer, Francis Lawrence, said later that Love's death was "an accident with a tragic outcome."
Lawrence said Huguely also planned to withdraw from the university.
But Ford told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Wednesday that line of defense probably won't work.
"You're not surprised," Ford observed, "that his attorney is saying, given these facts, 'It was an accident.' You can have a situation where somebody dies, because of somebody else's conduct, and it might not be criminal. Classic illustration, on the job site and two guys are working and one has a piece of lumber in his hand and he turns around and hits the other accidentally, knocks him off the roof, he hits his head and dies. Might be some civil responsibility, it's not a criminal case.
"But here, quite candidly, it's going to be a tougher sell, because you have a whole series of intentional conduct: intentionally kicking in the door to her bedroom. Grabbing her. This isn't a situation where he said, 'I went to talk to her and I just sort of grabbed her to turn her around and she tripped on something, fell and hit her head.' What he says, according to police is, he's shaking her and repeatedly her head is banging against the wall. That gives you intentional conduct. He might not have intended to kill her, but enough intentional conduct that I think accident, pure accident, would be a tough sell here."
Ford added that, "In most jurisdictions, they say if you intended to harm somebody seriously and they die, even though you didn't intend to kill them, you could be guilty of murder."
An affidavit for a search warrant said two people found Love, of Cockeysville, Md., face down in her bedroom with a pool of blood on her pillow, a large bruise on her face and one eye swollen shut. She was pronounced dead at the scene after attempts to revive her failed.
According to the document, Huguely - listed in the lacrosse media guide as 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds - told police he was "involved in an altercation with Yeardley Love and that, during the course of the altercation, he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall."
Huguely told police the two had been in a relationship "and that the relationship had ended," according to the affidavit. Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said investigators are looking into whether Huguely had threatened Love in the past.
"That's what we're trying to get to precisely, through our interviews with friends, family and teammates - to see to what extent there's truth to that," Longo said.
Longo said there were no past police reports of issues between the two.