February 22, 2012
The fate of George Huguely is now in the hands of seven men and five women. At 9:24 a.m. Wednesday, the jury was ushered into a private room to begin deliberations.
Judge Edward Hogshire told the jurors, "I appreciate your service. At this point, I'm turning [the case] over to you." Hogshire told the court he is "optimistic" they will finish deliberations sometime Wednesday.
Almost immediately after entering the Jury Room, the 12-person panel requested to see the taped statement Huguely made to Charlottesville Police shortly after Yeardley Love's lifeless body was found on May 3, 2010.
The former University of Virginia lacrosse player faces six charges in connection to Love's death. They are:
- First-degree murder
- Felony murder (murder in the commission of a robbery)
- Grand larceny
- Breaking and entering
The jury has five options regarding the murder charge:
- Guilty of first-degree murder - a premeditated killing
- Guilty of second-degree murder - not premeditated, but is murder with malice
- Guilty of voluntary manslaughter - intentional killing in the heat of passion
- Guilty of involuntary manslaughter - an accidental killing with reckless conduct and disregard for life
- Not guilty
Before the jury began deliberations, the alternates - two middle-aged women - were identified and dismissed from the case. They turned in their notes, but were instructed to remain on stand-by and to avoid the media.
As soon as the verdict is announced, the sentencing phase will begin. However, the defense team has asked for 30 minutes to present character witnesses before the jury recommends a sentence.
Jury Deliberations Preview
After a three day break, the jury will begin deliberating George Huguely's fate Wednesday morning.
Twelve local residents will decide whether Huguely killed ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, and if it was a tragic accident, like his lawyers argued, or an intentional murder.
Huguely is facing six charges in all, including first-degree murder, felony murder, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and breaking and entering.
Wednesday, the jury will start sifting through the evidence and must decide Huguely's guilt or innocence for each charge.
A first-degree murder conviction carries the most severe punishment of 20 years to life in prison without parole. Outside of a not guilty verdict, involuntary manslaughter carries the least weight, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Huguely's defense team is pushing for involuntary manslaughter.