Julie Carey, Art Lien
Jurors are closely considering defendant George Huguely V's intent the night his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love died, News4's Julie Carey reported. (Courtroom sketches by Art Lien.)
The jury in the trial of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused in the death of his ex-girlfriend reached a verdict Wednesday evening.
About 6 p.m., the jurors said they didn't need dinner, News4's Julie Carey reported. If a verdict comes soon, the sentencing hearing could begin tonight. The judge said that won't continue past 10 p.m.
After six hours of deliberations, jurors sought clarification on what they view as contradictory language regarding one of the charges against George Huguely V, who is accused in the May 3, 2010, death of Yeardley Love, Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire said Wednesday.
The jury began deliberations Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder and five other charges. The 24-year-old Chevy Chase, Md., defendant could be sentenced to life in prison on the most serious counts.
After a three-day break, jurors returned to Charlottesville Circuit Court to deliberate.
In the court's first order of business Wednesday, a judge chose numbers out of a box in order to determine which of the 14 jurors that sat through the trial would become alternates. Two females were selected, leaving the final jury with seven men and five women.
About 9:20 a.m., the jury entered a private room, where they read jury instructions and picked a foreman.
Jurors asked the judge for equipment so they could rewatch Huguely's interview with police recorded hours after Love's death.
Less than 90 minutes into their deliberations, jurors had a question for the judge. Jurors asked Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire the meaning of "reason" within the judge's lengthy instructions to the panel. He advised them common usage would apply.
Judge Hogshire said Wednesday morning before the start of deliberations, "I'd like to wrap this case up today."
Huguely's defense acknowledges he kicked a hole in the door to Love's bedroom that evening, but insists he only wanted to talk. Medical experts testified to several possible causes for Love's death from blunt trauma injuries.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Dave Chapman became tearful while disputing the defendant's claim that Huguely went to Love's apartment the night she died to talk things over. Chapman pointed to the hole Huguely kicked in Love's bedroom door when she wouldn't let him in.
"What kind of conversation starter is that?" Chapman asked in court. "That's the beginning of terror."
Chapman also reminded jurors of an email Huguely sent to Love after learning she had been with another man. It read in part, "I should have killed you."
The defense called Love's death a tragic accident, a combination of injuries inflicted by Huguely and the alcohol she drank earlier that night.
Defense attorney Francis Lawrence called Huguely's email to Love "hyperbole" and said he was incapable of carrying out a murder, calling him "stupid," "drunk" and "not calculating -- a boy athlete."
He suggested that jurors consider a lesser charge such as involuntary manslaughter instead of premeditated murder.
Huguely faces up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious murder charge.