CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V was found guilty of second-degree murder in the May 2010 slaying of his former girlfriend, and he now faces 26 years in prison.
Huguely was convicted Wednesday evening in the killing of 22-year-old Yeardley Love, who was found beaten in her apartment in the early-morning hours of May 3, 2010.
The jury of seven men and five women in Charlottesville Circuit Court recommended a 25-year sentence for second-degree murder and one year for grand larceny. Judge Edward Hogshire will formally sentence him April 16.
Huguely, a graduate of the Landon School in Bethesda, appeared anxious when he entered the courtroom, scanning the venue for his family. He showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read. There were no outbursts in the courtroom from relatives of either Love or Huguely.
In convicting Huguely guilty of second-degree murder, the jury found that the killing was malicious, but not premeditated.
The jury was considering a range of degrees of homicide, from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. Huguely was also convicted of grand larceny for taking Love’s laptop; he was found not guilty of felony murder, robbery, burglary, and breaking into a home with the intent to commit a felony.
Huguely had maintained that he only wanted to talk to Love, of Cockeysville, when he went to her apartment late in the evening on May 2, 2010. He told police that the two fought, but he didn’t do anything to Love that would have killed her.
In his closing statement, defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence said Huguely had “some responsibility” for Love’s death, but the killing was “not calculated.”
But medical experts testified for the prosecution that Love’s brain injuries could only come from trauma, and she died of blunt-force trauma to the head. Prosecutor Dave Chapman told jurors that Huguely broke Love’s door to get into her apartment, beat her, then left her for dead.
The jury deliberated nine hours before returning the verdicts, the deliberated another two hours on the sentences for Huguely.
Love’s mother, Sharon Love, wept on the stand during the sentencing proceedings.
“Every year that goes by, I’m afraid that I’m forgetting little pieces about her,” she said.
In urging jurors to consider a “very significant punishment” for Huguely, Chapman said that after beating Love, “instead of getting help for her, he took her computer and threw it in the trash.”
Huguely’s lawyers called no sentencing witnesses, but defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana stressed that Huguely’s out-of-control drinking gravely impacted his decision-making that night.
Much of the trial testimony concerned the pair’s volatile relationship.
In the months before the killing, Huguely had choked Love and sent her an email that said “I should have killed you” in part because he was upset that she had hooked up with someone else, according to testimony from the couple’s friends. And Love had once barged into Huguely’s apartment and whacked him with her purse.