CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WJZ) – After about nine hours of deliberating on the fate of the former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely, a Virginia jury found him guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny. It took them another few hours to recommend a sentence of 26 years in prison, 25 for the murder charge and one for grand larceny. As per Virginia law, Huguely will not be able to get out of prison early on parole. This is a recommended sentence and the judge will formally sentence him in April. He may or may not follow this recommendation. The formal sentencing is April 16.
Adam May has the latest.
Huguely could have received up to 60 years in prison. Now he could be locked up until he’s 50 years old.
Wednesday night, the prosecutor said there are no winners in this case, just losers.
George Huguely, convicted of second-degree murder and grand larceny, dodged the worst possible punishment but he could still serve up to 26 years in prison.
After nine hours, jurors ruled the Chevy Chase native, who played lacrosse at the University of Virginia, beat his girlfriend, Cockeysville native Yeardley Love, to death in her off-campus apartment in May 2010. He was upset after learning she slept with another lacrosse player and drunk after a day of golfing with teammates and his father.
“There are no winners in this case. There’s nothing but loss everywhere. Our hearts go out to the Love family. They’ve suffered enormously,” said Dave Chapman, prosecutor.
In court, Huguely showed no emotions during the verdict but he started to weep after jurors left the courthouse to begin the sentencing phase.
Love’s mother and sister offered heartbreaking testimony about lonely holidays. Her mother, Sharon, told the jury, “Every year that goes by, I fear that I’m forgetting little pieces about Yeardley. That worries me.” In a statement, they thanked the prosecutors and asked for privacy.
No one spoke on behalf of Huguely. In fact, his father didn’t show up in court for their verdict. Instead, Huguely’s lawyers pleaded to the jury to spare their client a long prison sentence, arguing Huguely was immature and remorseful.
“He displayed amazing resilience and courage,” said Francis Lawrence, defense attorney. “We look forward to some corrections in what happened here tonight.”
The defense attorney didn’t use the word “appeal.”
The jury’s sentence is just a recommendation. The judge can reduce the sentence but he can’t increase it. Formal sentencing is scheduled for April 16.
In a statement, Notre Dame Prep School (where Love went to high school) said, “Throughout this ordeal, the Notre Dame Preparatory School community has prayed for all of those touched by this tragedy. While the trial has concluded, our prayers will continue.
“Yeardley has been in our hearts and minds since her passing in 2010. She will be remembered and celebrated in many ways at NDP—through a scholarship that bears her name, with a three-sport turf field and through the empathy our community holds for her and her family. Yeardley will always be one of `our girls’ and though we will never fill the void left by her death, we pray that those whose lives have been immeasurably altered may find peace.”