After less than a day of deliberations, the jury in the George Huguely murder trial came back with a verdict of guilty for second degree murder of Virginia female lacross player Yeardley Love, as well as a guilty verdict for grand larceny. Huguely had been charged with first degree murder, felony murder, robbery, burglary, statutory burglary and larceny. However, the judge's instructions also allowed for the jury to find Huguely guilty of something less than first degree murder, which they did.
In finding Huguely guilty of second degree murder as opposed to first degree murder, the jury likely decided that while Huguely had malice in his heart, he did not commit the murder in a willful, deliberate and premeditated manner. At the same time, the jury also did not buy that this was a case of mistake and tragedy as the defense tried to portray it. Rather, Huguely had intent to kill Yeardley Love and went through with it, albeit without plan and purpose.
The grand larceny charge relates to the theft of Love's laptop. Evidence indicated Huguely had walked out with Love's laptop after he killed her. In Virginia, grand larceny involves one of multiple possibilities. If a good was taken off the person of another, the value only needs to exceed $5. If the good was not taken directly from the person of another, the value must exceed $200.
The second degree murder conviction carries with it a sentence of five to 40 years in state prison. The grand larceny conviction carries with it a sentence that includes imprisonment for one to 20 years and/or up to a year in jail. Virginia is one of the few states that actually has the jury provide a sentencing recommendation for non-death penalty cases.
The next step in this trial will feature testimony from both sides in an attempt to convince the jury of a greater or lesser penalty. Huguely has already served 21 months in jail while awaiting the trial and that will be counted as time served once the final sentence is determined.