August 30, 2012

Huguely Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Love's Death

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter

A judge on Thursday sentenced former Virginia men's lacrosse player George Huguely to 23 years in prison for the death of former Virginia women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

Huguely, 24, entered a Charlottesville, Va., courthouse in handcuffs Thursday afternoon, wearing long hair and a striped jumpsuit to face his sentence. A jury in February recommended 26 years in jail after finding Huguely guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny in the May 2010 death of Love.

Defense lawyers argued in court for a 14-year sentence. Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire, who presided over the February trial and a hearing last week in which Huguely was denied a new trial, decided on a sentence three years less than what the jury had recommended.

Huguely, who didn't take the stand at trial, spoke briefly Thursday before the sentence was delivered, according to reporters in the courtroom. He addressed Love's mother, Sharon Love, and her sister, Lexi Love.

"Ms. Love and Lexi, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope and pray you find peace, and I thank my family for all their love and support," Huguely said, according to the NBC affiliate in Charlottesville.

Love's mother and her sister issued a statement after the hearing.

"We find no joy in others' sorrow," the statement read, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. "We plan to work diligently through the One Love Foundation to try and prevent this from happening to another family. We are relieved to put this chapter behind us."

Huguely is not eligible for parole, per Virginia law, but his sentence can be reduced by 15 percent for good behavior and participation in programs offered by the state's Department of Corrections. Huguely also will get credit for time served since being arrested more than two years ago.

Assuming his sentence is not reduced and he serves all 21 years in jail, Huguely will be 45 upon his release. He also will be on probation for three years after his release, and is no longer allowed to drink alcohol, NBC-3 said.

In the February trial, Huguely faced a maximum of 60 years in prison before the jury's recommended sentence, which could be lowered but not raised by the judge Thursday.

On Thursday, Huguely's lawyers called character witnesses to testify on his behalf, including a Roman Catholic priest he has met with over the years who said Huguely is a spiritual person who displayed no anger or aggression in his presence, the Baltimore Sun reported. The Commonwealth called witnesses that testified Huguely showed a pattern of excessive drinking and violence prior to Love's murder.

In late April and early May, Love's family filed a pair of civil lawsuits against Huguely and against Virginia men's lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia, Cavaliers assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale and Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage for negligence in Love's death. Each sought nearly $30 million.

Previous Coverage

Huguely Denied New Trial - Aug. 22
Love Family Files Suit Against Virginia Coaches, AD
- May 3
Huguely Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder
- Feb. 22
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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