Many options for Huguely jury as deliberations begin

By |
Local,Virginia,Crime,Emily Babay

Even if jurors conclude that George Huguely V killed Yeardley Love, they'll still have more decisions to make before they can return a verdict against the former University of Virginia lacrosse player.

Jurors weighing the fate of the 24-year-old from Chevy Chase will begin deliberations Wednesday. Testimony in Huguely's murder trial in Charlottesville Circuit Court ended Saturday.

Huguely is charged with first-degree murder and felony murder in the May 2010 death of 22-year-old Love, also a U.Va. student and lacrosse player. Jurors could convict Huguely of either of those charges, convict him of a lesser offense -- second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter -- or find him not guilty.

Medical experts testified for the prosecution that Love died from blunt-force trauma; Huguely has maintained that the two fought but he only went to her apartment to talk to her and didn't know she was dead when he left.

The five homicide options mean the jury has much leeway in assessing Huguely's role in Love's death. The charges also have a wide range of potential sentences, from life in prison for first-degree murder to 10 years for manslaughter.

» First-degree murder is a "willful, deliberate and premeditated" killing. Jurors were instructed that intoxication can be a defense against first-degree murder; friends of the couple testified that Huguely had been drinking heavily the day Love was killed, starting at about 9 a.m.

» Second-degree murder is a killing that was malicious, but does not have to be premeditated. In his closing argument, Chapman appeared to back off from the first-degree charge and asked jurors to consider second-degree or felony murder.

» Felony homicide is "the killing of one accidentally, contrary to the intention of the parties, while in the prosecution of some felonious act." Prosecutors say Huguely broke into Love's apartment and robbed her of her laptop.

» Voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing committed in a "heat of passion" from provocation.

» Involuntary manslaughter is an unintended killing from actions that showed a "callous disregard for human life." Defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence said Huguely's actions didn't show that disregard, but told jurors that the involuntary manslaughter charge warranted "careful consideration."

Huguely was also indicted on charges of robbery, burglary, entering a house with intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny.

A panel of seven men and seven women heard testimony in the case; two of those jurors are alternates and will not take part in deliberations.

ebabay@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Emily Babay

Digital News Editor
The Washington Examiner