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Huguely Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

George Huguely, the University of Virginia lacrosse player facing first-degree murder charges in the death of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love of Cockeysville, was convicted on the lesser offense of second-degree murder Wednesday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—A jury convicted George Huguely V of second-degree murder and grand larceny Wednesday in the 2010 death of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.

The Chevy Chase native, now 24, was found guilty on charges he beat Love, 22, to death in her Charlottesville apartment. The jury, however, did not find that Huguely premeditated the killing—which would have been necessary to convict him of the first-degree murder charge he faced.

The jury took nine hours to reach a verdict. The jury will next recommend Huguely's sentence, though Judge Edward Hogshire will have the final say. Second-degree murder carries a five to 40 year sentence, while grand larceny carries one day to 20 years in prison.

Huguely, dressed in a gray coat and khakis, showed no visible emotion as Hogshire read the verdict forms. Huguely's and Love's family members were present in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

Love, a Cockeysville native, attended Notre Dame Preparatory School. Huguely attended the Landon School in Bethesda. Both played lacrosse at the University of Virginia. 

Huguely faced six charges, including first-degree murder, felony murder, grand larceny, statutory burglary, burglary and robbery. If convicted of first-degree murder, Huguely could have faced 20 years to life in prison. Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum 10-year sentence. 

Wednesday, Huguely was found guilty of grand larceny and not guilty on charges of first-degree murder in commission of a robbery, robbery, buglary with intent to commit larceny and statutory burglary.   

Huguely burst into Love's off-campus apartment on the night of May 2, 2010, after a day of what friends and teammates said was heavy drinking.

In testimony, friends and former teammates painted a grim picture of Huguely as a hard-drinking, jealous college senior who had a stormy relationship with Love.

Huguely had gotten into fights with Love in the months leading to her death, prosecutors said.

"I should have killed you," he wrote in an email to Love shortly before her death, after learning of an affair with a University of North Carolina lacrosse player.

That email was found on a computer which Huguely stole from her apartment and attempted to throw away the night of her killing.

Huguely himself declined to testify, but in a taped interview with investigators, before his arrest, Huguely sounded shaken by word of Love's death and denied that he killed her.

Attorneys on both sides agreed that Huguely was in her apartment and that there was some sort of altercation, but the defense argued Huguely was not directly and completely responsible for Love's death.

Medical experts called by the defense claimed Love died not from blunt force trauma, as ruled by the medical examiner, but by asphyxiation after suffocating in a pillow.

The jury heard closing statements following nearly two weeks of testimony in a rare Saturday court session, then began deliberations on Wednesday morning. 

A sentencing hearing is expected to begin after a short break.

Nancy Freimanis February 23, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I can't believe it. I am in complete disbelief and at a loss for words. Second degree?? My heart goes out to Yeardley's family.
Jose Mikhail February 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
People need to realize that 2nd degree murder is not a slap on the wrist - it's murder. Whether it's first or second degree is no reflection on the value of the victim's life; it's an assessment of the mental state of the offender at the time of the murder.
NotMyFullName March 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM
"Second degree??" Do you disagree with the verdict?

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