February 22, 2012

Huguely Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder, Grand Larceny

Jury recommends 26 years in prison

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Updated: 02.22.12 at 10.30 p.m.

A jury in Charlottesvile, Va., on Wednesday found former Virginia men's lacrosse player George Huguely guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Yeardley Love, about 21 months after the former Virginia women's lacrosse player was found unresponsive in her apartment in May 2010.

After more than nine hours of deliberations amongst the jury, the verdict was announced a little before 7 p.m. Wednesday. At nearly the same time the Virginia women's lacrosse team finished a 12-9 win over Richmond at Klöckner Stadium, only about three miles away from the Charlottesville Circuit courthouse.

The jury also found Huguely guilty of grand larceny, but not guilty on the more serious murder charges, first-degree murder and felony murder. The jury recommended Huguely serve 25 years on the second-degree murder charge, and one year on the grand larceny charge. The maximum allowable sentence for each is 40 and 20 years, respectively.

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire can accept or lower the jury's recommendations, but not increase them. He set a sentencing date for April 16.

Second-degree murder in Virginia is defined as murder with malice that is not premeditated. If found guilty of murder in the first degree, Huguely would have faced life in prison. But he was found not guilty of that charge, and four others: felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary and entering a house with intent to commit a felony.

Hogshire read the jury's verdict aloud in the courtroom, among silence. According to multiple media reports, Huguely barely reacted as Hogshire spoke. He put his hands near his chin, and looked briefly at his family and friends sitting in the front rows of the room. Cameras had not been permitted in the courtroom during the roughly two-week trial.

Immediately after the verdict was delivered, attorneys began going over sentencing instructions. Jurors heard witness testimony and evidence, and then deliberated again for about two hours until 10 p.m. Wednesday, when they made the recommendations.

During the sentencing testimony, Yeardley Love's mother, Sharon Love, testified. She said, in part, "It's still with me, every single day from sunup to sundown," according to The Baltimore Sun. Some jurors wept as Sharon Love and Yeardley Love's older sister, Lexie, later testified.

The Love family then released a written statement late Wednesday, signed by Sharon and Lexie Love. It read: "We dread looking back on the events of May 3, 2010 and pray for the strength to get through each day. Time has not made us miss Yeardley any less, in fact quite the opposite.

"It is truly devastating to wake up each day and realize that she is no longer here. Yeardley's contagious smile, kind spirit and gentle touch have left this world but we know that heaven has an angel like no other. We will continue to keep her spirit alive by performing works of kindness in her name. We would like to thank the Commonwealth and particularly [prosecutor] Dave Chapman for his tireless efforts on our behalf.

"Our hearts burst with pride when we think of Yeardley's accomplishments but our hearts melt when we remember her kindness and grace. We have received letters from so many people telling us stories of her many acts of kindness. Intelligence and athletic ability are God given talents. Kindness and compassion are choices...choices that Yeardley made every day without a second thought.

"We'd like to thank everyone for their kindness and respect of our privacy during such a difficult time."

Previous LaxMagazine.com Coverage

Jury Deliberations Wednesday in Huguely Trial - Feb. 21
Virginia Focuses on Lacrosse and Upsets Loyola – Feb. 18
Virginia Teammates Testify in Huguely Trial - Feb. 15
Defense to Begin Case in George Huguely Trial - Feb. 15
Huguely Breaks Down as Interrogation Tape Shown - Feb. 11
Testimony Begins, Details Emerge in Huguely Trial - Feb. 8
Jury Selection Ongoing in George Huguely Trial - Feb. 7
Huguely Trial to Begin - Feb. 6
George Huguely Trial to Begin in 2012 – April 2011

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