Off steroids? Slimmer Huguely prompts chem speculation
The dramatically different look of the on-trial George Huguely could stem from a lack of steroids behind bars, says Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, who cautions that his theory about the prohibited muscle-building compounds is pure speculation.
"The first thing that came to mind when I saw his appearance in court," says Heilberg, "was, 'Was he using steroids?'"
The images of Huguely that have long filled the public pages and airwaves show a lacrosse player who, according to his team roster, stood 6'2' and weighed 209 pounds. So the idea of any fight between such a towering, hulking Division I varsity athlete and a much smaller female in her bedroom has provoked widespread outrage.
Huguely should not have been using the muscle-building compounds because they're banned by most athletic organizations including the NCAA, which governs the University of Virginia's athletic team. Steroids have been linked to a variety of health effects including shrunken testicles and an increase in body hair.
More gravely, there's a negative side-effect that can affect those surrounding the user: "roid rage," an increase in aggression. Defendant Huguely has a history of alcohol misuse including a 2008 conviction for public drunkenness and resisting arrest in Lexington.
"You combine steroids and alcohol, and that's a very volitile mix," says Heilberg.
Ironically, however, any courtroom discussion of steroids could conceivably benefit the defense in this trial in Charlottesville Circuit Court that's been attracting nationwide attention.
"That would be a credible mitigator if that were true," says Heilberg.
Since his arrest in the May 2010 death of Yeardley Love, Huguely has been confined– often in isolation from other prisoners– in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. That could explain the loss of body mass, as he may not have had access to athletic facilities.
"He clearly is a shadow of what he looked like," says Heilberg. "The kid we saw in court is not the kid we saw in 2008 and 2010."
The new Huguely, however, looks not only smaller but also dressed in a too-large sportcoat, and there has been widespread speculation that his legal team intentionally dressed the 24-year-old in an oversized garment.
"I won't say that they did that or that they didn't do that," says Heilberg. "I will say he looks harmless– like an ordinary college kid. Clearly, that's an appearance they cultivated."Read more on: George Huguely