Prior to the trial of George Huguely, I said the University would withhold any comments until the trial had concluded. The jury now has rendered its verdict and a young man - a former member of our community - has been found guilty for the death of fellow student Yeardley Love.
As Professor Anne Coughlin reminded us on Feb. 2, the conclusion of a trial like this may bring a momentary sense of justice or retribution, but our judicial system can never restore to a family what it has lost. Yeardley's family, teammates, sorority sisters and friends - indeed all of us at the University - continue to feel the loss of this promising young woman. It remains now to each of us to commit to caring for one another and, when we see someone in trouble, to having the courage to intercede and offer assistance.
Our sympathy and compassion go to the Love family, as well as to the Huguely family, as they face the future and their personal grief.
-- Teresa A. Sullivan, UVA President
February 22, 2012
After two hours of deliberations, the jury has recommended that George Huguely serve 26 years in jail for the death of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.
The jury's sentence was read in Charlottesville Circuit Court moments after 10 p.m. Wednesday. They suggested that the former University of Virginia lacrosse player serve 25 years for the second-degree murder conviction and one year for grand larceny.
Judge Edward Hogshire will either accept or adjust that recommendation at a formal sentencing hearing on Apr. 16 at 9:30 a.m.
Moments after the recommended sentence was read in court, the Love family released a statement to the media. To read the full letter, click here.
The jury deliberated for nine hours Wednesday 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."
There is no parole in Virginia, so Huguely will serve a minimum of 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible to be released.