Huguely Sentenced to 23 Years in UVA Lacrosse Murder - NBC4 Washington

Huguely Sentenced to 23 Years in UVA Lacrosse Murder

Prosecutor: "All I see is loss. It will be that way forever"



    Huguely Sentenced in UVA Lax Murder

    George Huguely was sentenced to 23 years in jail for the murder of Yeardley Love. (Published Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012)

    George W. Huguely V was sentenced Thursday to 23 years in the May 2010 slaying of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.

    He will serve one year concurrently for grand larceny, and will have supervised probation after his release, NBC4's Jackie Bensen reports.

    There is no parole in Virginia, but he could get up to 15 percent of his sentence cut for good behavior. Inmates in the commonwealth serve on average 85 percent of their sentences. Huguely will also receive credit for time served.

    A prosecutor on the case teared up as he spoke to reporters. "All I see is loss," Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman. "It will be that way forever."

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    Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., had faced up to 26 years in prison for the beating death of Love. Both were students and lacrosse players at the University of Virginia when she was killed. Huguely was convicted in February of second-degree murder and grand larceny. The jury had recommended 26 years, including one for grand larceny.

    "This gentleman has an anger problem," said Chapman. "He has a violence problem... whether it's under the influence of alcohol or not."

    Chapman commented on the fact that Huguely did not use a weapon. "You can exhibit [malice] with your hands and feet and whatever, to exactly the same degree [as using a gun or knife].... Great bodily harm was done, and it caused death, and that was the fact."

    During the sentencing hearing, a Roman Catholic priest testified that Huguely is a spiritual person who displayed no anger or aggression in his presence.
    Scordo said he has visited Huguely weekly in jail since the May 2010 slaying of Love. He said the "wild, out-of-control" person that Huguely, 24, has been portrayed as is not the man he knows.
    Earlier Thursday, prosecution witnesses described Huguely beating a man who went home with Love after a party. A woman also testified he angrily put his hands around her neck.

    On Wednesday, Huguely's attorneys asked Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire to reduce the jury's recommended sentence, offering his mother's plea for leniency for her “beautiful son.”

    Huguely's attorneys had sought a sentence of 14 years, according to a filing in Charlottesville Circuit Court. Hogshire was not bound by the jury's recommended sentence, but judges in Virginia typically heed jurors’ sentencing recommendations.

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    Sorces familiar with the victim and the suspect in the University of Virginia murders say they were an on-again-off-again couple with a violent past.
    (Published Tuesday, May 4, 2010)

    Huguely killed Love, 22, in her Charlottesville apartment as their two-year relationship spiraled downward amid accusations that each had been unfaithful to the other.

    Chapman commented on the lives of Huguely and Love's classmates and friends, who have graduated and moved to other cities and are working on careers. "[Love] would have been successful in whatever she would have done. In death, it's so sad, but she's focused attention on the issue of domestic violence."

    He also expressed hope for Huguely, that he could accomplishment many things while in the prison system and could come out "a better person."

    In their court filing the day before his sentencing, Huguely's attorneys had offered arguments to reduce his sentence, and included portions of letters submitted to the court for consideration at the sentencing. Among them is the memorandum from Huguely's mother, Marta Murphy.

    “We love Georgie deeply and will stand by him forever,” she wrote. “Our tight knit family and close group of friends will offer him a strong and supportive network when he is released.

    “Please have mercy and be lenient and compassionate on my beautiful son,” Murphy wrote, adding that Love was “a part of our lives.”

    Letters in support of Huguely were also submitted by his sister, a cousin, neighbors, family friends, former classmates and the former captain of the Virginia lacrosse team.

    Huguely's attorneys, Rhonda Qualiana and Francis McQ. Lawrence, also state that Love and Huguely were both intoxicated the night of Love's death and acknowledge Huguely's history of alcohol abuse, which was revealed by friends and teammates at his trial.

    “There is nothing in Mr. Huguely's background to suggest that the use of alcohol could not be successfully addressed or that a sentence of twenty-six years is required to ensure that Mr. Huguely never abuses alcohol,” they wrote.

    The filing also mentions wrongful death suits filed by Sharon Love, Yeardley's mother, seeking damages approaching $60 million. One suit seeks $30 million from Huguely.

    “Civil damages provide plaintiffs with a means -- though imperfect -- of making a victim whole and penalizing (the offender),” the attorneys write.

    In seeking a sentence reduction to 14 years, Huguely's attorneys cite Virginia sentencing guidelines. Jurors do not review sentencing guidelines when determining an offender's punishment.

    "We fundamentally disagree that the conviction of second degree murder was at all appropriate," said Rhonda Qualiana, an attorney for Huguely. "We think George was convicted with a crime that was inconsistent with the facts."

    She said they will appeal both the conviction and the sentencing.

    During Thursday's sentencing, Huguely spoke in court -- which he had rarely done before -- and addressed the Love family directly. "I'm so sorry for your loss," he said. "I hope you find peace."

    Pictured above right: Huguely arrives for sentencing at Charlottesville Circuit Court, Aug. 30.