George Huguely sentencing set in Yeardley Love murder

Former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in the May 2010 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love.

The Chevy Chase native faces up to 26 years in prison.

A Charlottesville jury in February convicted Huguely, 24, of second-degree murder in the death of Love, 22, of the Baltimore suburb of Cockeysville. Like Huguely, she was a senior at the school and a varsity lacrosse player.

In a taped police interview, Huguely admitted leaving Love bleeding after kicking through her bedroom door following a day of drinking, and then shaking her and wrestling with her during an argument over their breakup. Love’s body was found facedown in a bloody pillow by a roommate in the early hours of May 3, 2010, and Huguely was arrested by dawn. Love died from blunt force trauma to her head, a medical examiner ruled.

The jury also found Huguely guilty of stealing Love’s computer as he left her apartment. The panel sentenced Huguely to 25 years on the murder conviction and one year for grand larceny. Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire can accept or lower, but not increase, the jury’s sentence.

Huguely would serve at least 85 percent of his term under Virginia sentencing rules. He has been held in the Charlottesville jail since his arrest, time that could be credited to him and — if a 26-year sentenced is imposed — would leave him with about 20 years to serve.

Virginia has not had parole since 1995, and inmates can trim no more than 15 percent from their sentences by earning credits in prison programs and serving time without incident, said Meredith Farrar-Owens, director of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission.

Huguely did not testify at his trial, where he appeared leaner, clean-shaven and with shorter hair than during his lacrosse days and in his taped police statement. It is not known whether he will speak at his sentencing or whether his parents, who also did not testify at his trial, will make appeals to the judge.

Love’s mother, Sharon Love, has filed two civil lawsuits since the trial — where she had testified about learning of her daughter’s death and the impact of her murder.

In one pending lawsuit, she claims Huguely wrongfully caused her daughter’s death. In the second, she said the university and several athletic department officials were negligent and ignored signs of Huguely’s erratic and violent behavior.

Huguely had been the starting football quarterback, an honor-roll student and a lacrosse all-American at the renowned Landon School in Bethesda before heading to U-Va., where he was an anthropology major, according to his online team biography.

Love had been a four-year member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, where a new field for lacrosse, soccer and field hockey is scheduled to be dedicated Sept. 9 in her honor.

The murder case led to new layers of security at U-Va., including a requirement that at the start of each school year, students report whether they have been arrested or convicted of anything other than minor traffic infractions.

Huguely had a prior arrest and pleaded guilty in a drunken encounter with a Lexington, Va., police officer in the fall of his junior year, court records show. The officer subdued him with a Taser, the officer said in court. University officials said had they known about that event, Huguely probably would have been suspended or expelled.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
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