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Posted at 04:53 PM ET, 01/22/2013

George Huguely files appeal of Yeardley Love murder conviction

George W. Huguely V on Tuesday asked the Court of Appeals for Virginia to vacate his 2012 second-degree murder conviction in the death of Yeardley Love.

Huguely, 25, of Chevy Chase, dated Love while both were varsity lacrosse players at the University of Virginia.

In the appeals filing, which seeks a new trial, attorneys for Huguely renewed some objections that a lower court rejected last year when it upheld a jury’s verdict that found Huguely guilty in the 2010 death of Love, 22, of suburban Baltimore.

Huguely’s appeal was filed by one of the top litigators in the country, Paul D. Clement, a former Solicitor General of the United States who is now in private practice and last year argued at the U.S. Supreme Court against the federal Affordable Health Care Act on behalf of 26 states.

Huguely is serving a 23-year sentence on the murder count and a one-year sentence on grand larceny for stealing Love’s computer after a fatal confrontation. He is in Virginia’s Keen Mountain Correctional Center in the far southwest corner of the state.

Under Virginia rules, he would serve at least 85 percent of his sentence and is credited with the more than two years he spent in a Charlottesville regional jail awaiting trial and sentencing.

In a statement released Tuesday, Huguely’s mother, Marta Murphy, said “We have faith in our legal system and look forward to the appeals process ahead. George continues to have the love and support of his family.”

Huguely told police in a videotaped statement that he had argued with Love after kicking through her locked bedroom door and shook and wrestled her to the floor before leaving her bleeding on her bed.

One of Love’s roommates found her dead a few hours later in their off-campus apartment. Both were seniors and on the cusp of graduation.

In the appeal, Huguely’s attorneys ask the state court to hear arguments on several points arising from Huguely’s February 2012 trial in Charlottesville. Among those are whether Huguely’s defense team was wrongly prevented from asking questions during jury selection about individuals’ impartiality and then were not allowed to eliminate some from the jury pool based on replies. The appeal says Huguely was deprived of a fair jury.

The appeal also contends that the trial, which attracted national attention, should not have continued when a member of of Huguely’s two-lawyer defense team briefly fell ill and could not appear in court during some testimony. That, according to the appeal, violated Huguely’s right to counsel of his choosing.

The filing also says the defense team should have been told that Love’s family planned to file a civil lawsuit against Huguely. Huguely’s attorneys argue that the civil suit raises the legal argument that Love’s death was an accident, contradicting the state’s position in the criminal case.

The appeal also contends that the jury should have received a lengthier definition of “malice” before they reached a verdict, which might have affected whether they found him guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

The Commonwealth has 30 days to file a response.

By  |  04:53 PM ET, 01/22/2013

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