February 22, 2012
Former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely has been found guilty of second degree murder in the death of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.
The jury deliberated for nine hours before reaching a consensus. CBS19 reporters in the courtroom say Huguely did not show any emotion as Judge Edward Hogshire read the verdict at approximately 6:50 p.m. Wednesday in Charlottesville Circuit Court.
The second degree murder charge implies a killing that involves malice, defined as the desire to inflict injury or harm on another person, but not premeditation or intent. It carries a possible sentence of five to 40 years in prison. The 24-year-old was also found guilty of grand larceny, which carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years.
Huguely faced six charges, including the original charge of first-degree murder, in the May 3, 2010 death of Love, with whom, according to witnesses, he had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship.
He was found not guilty of first-degree murder, meaning the jury did not believe he plotted to kill his ex-girlfriend. The Chevy Chase, MD native was also found not guilty of felony murder, burglary and robbery.
The victim impact statements of the sentencing phase began with Love's mother appearing as the first sentencing witness. Speaking on her daughter's death, a teary-eyed Sharon Love told the court, "It's still with me every single day, from sun up to sun down. Some days are unbearable."
She was followed by Love's sister, Lexie. Tears rolling down her face, she said, "I think about her everyday. I see pictures of her friends and expect to see her there, too. I miss her so much it physically hurts."
The defense did not call any character witnesses, so the jury went straight into sentencing. Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman instructed the jury on sentencing guidelines. He explained to them how Huguely was arrested at Washington and Lee University in Lexington 13 months before he killed Love, saying, "he didn't get the message."
Defense co-counsel Rhonda Quagliana asked the jury to remember Huguely's plea to the police, "she's not dead, she's not dead. Please tell me she's not dead."
After deliberating, the jury will return with a recommended sentence on both charges. Judge Hogshire can either accept those decisions or augment them however he sees fit.