University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love died after her boyfriend attacked her — that's no longer in dispute. But now the defense is claiming the real cause of death was her Adderall prescription.
George Huguely (pictured), Love's on-and-off boyfriend and fellow lacrosse player, has admitted that he broke into her room on the night of her death and shook her hard enough that her head hit the wall. A medical examiner ruled that she died of blunt-force trauma, and Huguely's charged with first-degree murder. But now, a pathologist with the unfortunate name of Dr. Jack Daniel has testified that in his view, Love actually died of a cardiac arrhythmia that cut off oxygen to her brain. Another medical examiner, Dr. William Gormley, testified that the Adderall Love was taking could have increased the risk of such arrhythmia. Now Huguely's defense wants access to all of Love's medical records to help make their case.
The Adderall Defense isn't totally out of nowhere — the National Institute of Health warns that the drug "may cause sudden death in children and teenagers" (Love was 22) and that people who drink "large amounts of alcohol" shouldn't use it (Love's BAC was 0.14 when she died). In Canada, Adderall was pulled off the market for a time because of sudden death concerns. However, Dr. Gormley noted that he thinks Love suffered arrhythmia after she also received blunt-force injuries, and it does seem like a pretty big coincidence that she just happened to die the night Huguely savagely attacked her. The prosecution says the defense's request for Love's medical records is a "fishing expedition" — ie, they're just looking for any underlying medical condition they can then claim contributed to Love's death. A judge has yet to decide whether to give them access to the records. Even if they get what they want, the fact remains that George Huguely broke down Yeardley Love's door on her last night alive and violently shook her until her nose bled — and that's going to be hard for a jury to ignore.
Disagreement Over Cause Of Love's Death In Huguely Case [Washington Post Crime Scene Blog]
Defense: Yeardley Love Didn't Die From Beating [AOL News]
Yeardley Love Update: Defense Seeks Victim's Medical Records In "UVA Lacrosse Death" [CBS Crimesider]