By STEVE SZKOTAK
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The state Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player who was convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of his former girlfriend in May 2010.
George W. Huguely V is serving a 23-year sentence in Keen Mountain Correctional Center for killing Yeardley Love. She was found dead in her Charlottesville apartment after Huguely burst into her bedroom after a day of drinking and golfing. Both seniors and U.Va. lacrosse players, Huguely and Love had had a turbulent relationship.
The appeal was granted this week based on claims that Huguely’s right to counsel was violated after one of his two attorneys fell ill but the trial judge proceeded with the trial, and that a juror who was not removed after she expressed doubts about her impartiality in the case.
Attorneys for Huguely, however, did not prevail on a number of other key points. They included the trial judge’s refusal to sequester jurors during the sensational trail, improper jury instructions, that the evidence did not support the conviction, and that the state failed to reveal that the Love family had filed a separate civil claim.
Attorneys for Huguely said Friday they might seek “broaden the appeal.”
Still, attorney Paul D. Clement said in an email to The Associated Press, “the Court of Appeals’ action underscores that there are serious issues about whether George received a fair trial that complied with his constitutional rights.
“We look forward to proceeding with the appeal on the merits, and we remain hopeful that the Court of Appeals will order a new trial,” he wrote.
Prosecutors have argued that Huguely’s other attorney was competent to move forward when his co-counsel fell ill and that the evidence of malice was sufficient to convict Huguely of second-degree murder. It cited Huguely’s written death threat two days prior to killing Love as an example.
Additionally, prosecutors said they did not need to disclose that Love’s family planned a $30 million civil suit against Huguely.
Either side can seek reconsideration before a three-judge panel.
Love’s death has had a lasting impact in Virginia and at the university. It’s easier now for abuse victims in Virginia to get a restraining order and students must tell the university if they have ever been arrested. School officials and students also have tried to make the culture on campus one in which people look out for each other and aren’t afraid to report relationship violence.
Love was from Cockeysville, Md., a Baltimore suburb. Huguely is from Chevy Chase, Md.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)