An appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the second-degree murder conviction of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player from Chevy Chase who fatally beat his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love of Cockeysville.
The Court of Appeals of Virginia found no reversible errors in George W. Huguely V’s conviction for the slaying of Love, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student who was beaten to death on May 3, 2010. In 2012, Huguely was convicted of second-degree murder in Love’s death and is serving a 23-year sentence.
Huguely is also serving time for a grand larceny conviction, which he did not appeal, reports CBS DC.
Love was killed by Huguely in a drunken rage just weeks before she was to graduate, according to court testimony. Both played on the University of Virginia's elite lacrosse teams, Patch earlier reported. Prior to the murder, Huguely had several run-ins with the law, including violent behavior. Three of these instances are outlined in a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit that her mother, Sharon Love, has filed against the coaches at the University of Virginia.
She has also filed a $30 million lawsuit against Huguely, CBS says.
Huguely’s attorneys raised several issues related to his 2012 trial, among them, a claim that Huguely was denied counsel when one of his attorneys, Rhonda Quagliana, fell ill during the trial and the judge agreed to proceed despite Huguely’s objections.
Noting that the judge excused the jury for a day and consulted with Huguely’s co-counsel, the court wrote, “The trial judge certainly did not arbitrarily disregard Huguely’s right to Ms. Qualiana’s presence at trial.”
The TV stations says Huguely’s attorneys also questioned the seating of jurors who expressed opinions about elements of the case. Juror 32, for instance, indicated in a questionnaire that she felt Huguely was guilty, “based on conversations with others and based on the media reports that she had seen.” But, the juror also said she could arrive at a verdict based on the facts.
The appeals court also rejected claims that jurors were not properly instructed on the meaning of “malice” under Virginia law.
Jurors who convicted Huguely heard testimony that the two had a volatile, off-and-on relationship that included infidelity, physical violence and heavy drinking. One witness, for instance, said he had seen Huguely put Love in a chokehold.
Love was found dead in her apartment after Huguely kicked a hole in her bedroom door and beat her after a day of heavy drinking, according to trial testimony. She died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Huguely told police the two had had a physical confrontation but denied beating her.
Virginia has no parole, but Huguely could reduce his sentence by 15 percent if he earns credits by participating in prison programs and stays out of trouble. He also would be credited with time served, leaving him with 16 years in prison, the TV station says.
In a statement released by Huguely’s family, his mother, Marta Murphy wrote, “We continue in our love and support for George, and our lawyers are evaluating all options to get him a fair trial.”
Sharon and Yeardley’s sister, Lexie, have started the One Love Foundation to draw attention to domestic violence. The family is lobbying Congress to pass legislation to make May 3 the “National One Love Day” that would raise awareness about dating violence.
Besides the bill in Congress, the foundation has created an awareness campaign about dating violence and two smartphone apps. The apps help people identify if they’re in an unhealthy relationship and offers ways to get help.