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Medical testimony: Yeardley Love's brain injury caused by blunt force trauma

George Huguely and Yeardley Love
George Huguely and Yeardley Love AP/Daily Progress via Charlottesville Police Department

(CBS/AP) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Yeardley Love, the ex-girlfriend of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of killing her, suffered brain injuries consistent with blunt force trauma, a physician who examined her posthumously testified Tuesday.

Dr. Christine E. Fuller testified in the murder trial of George Huguely V, who's accused of murdering Love in one violent encounter on May 3, 2010. 

Pictures: Yeardley Love Murdered; George Huguely Charged

During Dr. Fuller's testimony, she described a lesion on the lower portion of Love's brain.

"What kind of lesion is that?," asked prosecutor Dave Chapman.

"I would call that a contusion. That's a fancy word for a bruise," Fuller said.

When asked what the bruise would signify, Fuller replied, "It means there's been blunt force trauma to the head."

Fuller also described another injury near the base of the brain around the spinal cord that would have been caused by torque - a violent twisting.

That particular injury, she said, had potentially deadly consequences.

The doctor's testimony cuts to the heart of the prosecution's case: that Huguely attacked 22-year-old Love, another senior UVA lacrosse player.

The defense has yet to present any witnesses, and suggests Love's death was an accident, possibly related to her use of a prescription medicine for attention deficit disorder.

Huguely has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

During the medical testimony, Fuller said she found no pre-existing problems with Love's brain. The bruising was found on what she described as the underside of the temporal lobe, which is a result of the brain moving within the skull, and compared it to a passenger in a car that comes to an abrupt stop.

Chapman asked Fuller what her conclusion would have been if she had not been aware of Love's autopsy and she replied, "Just looking at the brain, no history, I would have called it trauma. No question."

On Monday, a medical examiner said his autopsy found evidence of suffocation, though it did not cause death, as well as a potentially deadly neck injury.

Love's injuries included a battered right eye, and bruising to her neck and under her jaw. Police say Huguely told an officer who interviewed him hours after Love's body was found that his injuries, bruises on his arms and legs, were the result of a lacrosse injury.

Complete coverage of Yeardley Love on Crimesider

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