EXCLUSIVE: Huguely Juror Speaks Out

By: Jessica Jaglois Email
By: Jessica Jaglois Email

Jury Stress

Now that the Huguely trial is complete, the 12 jurors and two alternates who sat through it are free to go.

Experts say sitting through a murder trial can have emotional effects on jury members, which could include flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. For lengthy trials, jurors could even feel emotional trauma as if they were directly involved in the lives of the victim and the accused.

"I would hope that these jurors would feel comfortable seeking out some professional guidance and seeking out a way to process this so that they can get on with their lives," said Jeffrey Frederick, Director of Jury Research Services for the National Jury Research Group.

February 23, 2012

Ian Glomski spends most of his days in a microbiology lab at the University of Virginia, but over the past three weeks he got to know the most intimate details of George Huguely's and Yeardley Love's lives. Glomski says being on the jury was the most difficult thing he's ever done, but he feels at peace with what the group of 12 decided.

Jessica Jaglois: After spending three weeks on the George Huguely jury, how does it feel the day after the verdict has been read?

Ian Glomski: I can't say it was an enjoyable process. I'm happy I was a juror, it was important. But I'm happy it's behind me. Even though it's behind me, the truth is, the scar is going to be there my whole life. I know it... it was difficult. I was in New York and I saw the towers fall on 9/11, and this was worse.

JJ: How do you feel about your decision?

IG: I really think justice was served. I'm very proud of what the jury did, as well as the actions of my fellow jurors. When we came out with our verdict both times, I was not afraid to look at George. I think that's because I was confident that what we did was right. In the end, as painful as it was, I'm confident that what we did was right.

JJ: How does it feel knowing that George Huguely is probably going to jail for a long time?

IG: It's tough, honestly. During the trial there were three things that tore me apart inside: (1) seeing the crime scene and Yeardley there and everything associated with the violence; (2) George's testimony to the police in that room, that video; (3) and at the end just before sentencing when Yeardley's mother and sister went up on the stand. George's statement was very painful and I feel for him, but he bears his responsibility for what happened. I wish we weren't put in that situation to make that judgment. I wish none of it ever happened.

JJ: What was it about Sharon and Lexie's statements that really touched you?

IG: That was a situation where we were beyond evidence. It was no longer calculations and looking for facts to make our decision. It was essentially feeling the impact of what had transpired. At that point we had already decided that George was guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny, so that was behind us. Now we had to deal with the ramifications of that. Yeardley's mother and sister personified that. They talked about that moment two-ish years ago and the future that was altered for the worst for the rest of their lives. It's the rest of their lives, it's the rest of George's life, it's everybody's.

JJ: How did you and the rest of the jurors work?

IG: During the trial, I actually think it was the defense, I don't actually remember the situation but the defense said something that we had seen. I would say within two seconds, at least six of those jurors raised their hand, turned to the judge and said, 'we never saw that'. The fact that that many people were paying that close of attention - it wasn't a key moment or anything like that - the jurors were tuned in. They were paying attention, they cared, everybody on the jury did not take it lightly. They did their best to do what was asked of us (sic). We were a fairly diverse group in terms of backgrounds and education and profession. Some topics we all agreed upon immediately. But there were ones where we disagreed and we had the whole "bell curve" of people spanning "yes" or "no." We all dealt with it in an adult, reasonable fashion trying to bridge the gap between "yes" and no" until we got to a place that everyone was comfortable with. It took compromise, it took the ability of a person to clearly describe their position and why they felt that way and people listened. If I was George, that's what I would have wanted to have happen. I would have wanted to have competent people that cared deciding my fate.

JJ: How difficult was it to come to an agreement on second-degree murder?

IG: We all did not think that the killing was premeditated. We don't think he went over there with the purpose of killing Yeardley Love. That brought us, in a sense, to a second phase of that determination and that's determining whether it's second-degree murder or manslaughter. The defining factor between those two is whether the killing was done with "malice" or in the "heat of passion." The "heat of passion" situation requires the provocation that is sufficient enough to make to a reasonable person essentially become "temporarily insane." Time and time again, Huguely was describing things in a rational fashion. At one point, one of the officers asked George, 'Were you really angry and enraged when you went through that door?' George literally said, 'No, I wasn't angry, I was more emotional.' That really suggests that it's not a "heat of passion" situation. George even said he went in there and essentially was having a discussion with her. Whether that happened or not doesn't really matter, but it's giving the impression that it's not like he snapped. There was no indication that she gave any massive provocation to make him become temporarily insane and violent. So if it wasn't "heat of passion", our only other choice was "malice." It was clear that we all felt the malice was demonstrated primary through his actions: taking physical action on another person.

JJ: It must have still been difficult to be in your position.

IG: Beyond going and serving in the military, this is one of the highest acts of civil service that one can do. I thought I was a person that could do, I thought I was a person that could do it fairly. It's my responsibility as a person to do it like that.

JJ: How did you decide what to recommend for sentencing?

IG: When we were considering how long to suggest that he receive for second-degree murder, we explicitly asked ourselves, 'is he a threat to society?' I think there was at least some feeling that, as an alcoholic, he would be. He might not be defined as an alcoholic at this point, but in that letter that we asked for, that letter was him apologizing for the February incident where he had his arm around Yeardley's throat in his room. The letter was about that incident. In that letter, he said, 'I can't believe I can ever get so drunk as to do something like that. I would never do something like that again. Drinking is ruining my life.' So, that is pretty indicative that he has a serious substance abuse problem. If he went to prison for five years, there's a very good chance that he'd come out and still be an active alcoholic and be a danger to society. Whether it be drunk driving or whatever. One of the many factors that we considered is that we would want him to be incarcerated long enough to maximize the likelihood of him coming out of that detention and not being a menace to society. Him being a mature adult and most likely to become a recovering alcoholic rather than an alcoholic. Without a doubt, there were jurors that thought that he did a very bad thing and he ought to pay the price for it, that he ought to bear responsibility for the tragedy he took a very major part in. It was a lot of things, but that letter was a major player. [Saying] in February, 'alcohol is ruining my life' and not being able to stop it between February and May is basically demonstrating he had a long-term problem. It wasn't a single-party weekend or something.

JJ: What would you say to George Huguely and/or Yeardley Love if you had the opportunity?

IG: My interactions with this whole trial, it's very intimate. I never knew Yeardley Love, but I got to know her best friends, I got to know her family, I got to see parts of her life in photographs, I got to read e-mails, I got to read things that were in her room. It's very intimate. In some ways, as a juror, I started caring about her family, but also George's family, too. Honestly, I have thought, I would like to go see George in jail. I would like to see him in the future and answer questions for myself. I would like to know what Yeardley was really like, I'd like to talk to her friends and things of that sort. I feel like I've built a relationship with these people.

JJ: What would you ask George?

IG: If he thought what has happened is just. It wouldn't change anything. But I'd want to know if he thinks that's how the world should be.

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