A Virginia judge today sentenced convicted University of Virginia murderer George Huguely V to 23 years in prison for the beating death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.
He will serve 23 years, plus one concurrent year for the grand larceny conviction, ruled Judge Edward Hogshire of Charlottesville Circuit Court. He also ordered three years of probation after the 23
Huguely, 24, was convicted of second-degree murder on Feb. 22 for the beating death of Love in 2010.
Before the judge's ruling, Huguely briefly addressed the court.
"To the Loves, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope that you are able to find peace. To my family and friends, thank you for your love and support," Huguely said through tears.
The Love family sat somberly with their heads down as the sentence was announced and left the courtroom soon after. The Huguely family remained stoic through the judge's decision.
Huguely's attorneys told reporters outside the court that they plan on appealing both the conviction and the sentence.
"Our client, Mr. Huguely, remains optimistic," the attorneys said.
In a statment, the Huguely family wrote, "Today is a sad day for our family. The past twenty-eight months have been the most difficult in our lives. We love George and will always support him."
They maintained that Love's death was "an accident with a tragic outcome," and said that, "Yeardley will always be in our hearts."
Love's mother and sister, Sharon and Lexie Love, also released a statement in which they thanked prosecutor David Chapman and everyone who helped them through the past two years.
"We find no joy in others' sorrow. We plan to work diligently through the One Love Foundation to try and prevent this from happening to another family," they wrote. "We are relieved to put this chapter behind us. Again, we would like to thank everyone for showing us such kindness during the most difficult time of our lives."
Huguely's attorneys asked a Virginia judge today to consider reducing the former University of Virginia athlete's sentence to 14 years in prison, from the 26 years recommended by a jury. The judge cut the recommended sentence by three years.
The prosecution and defense both called multiple witnesses to the stand for the sentencing, including former classmates, Huguely's aunt and a priest.
Rev. Joseph Scordo said he has visited Huguely in jail every Monday for a half-an-hour for the past two years.
Scordo described Huguely as "spiritual" and said the two spoke freely about "faith, prayer, life, religion, family, UVA, sports."
Scordo said he has never asked Huguely about the night of Love's death, but that Huguely frequently says, "I want the truth. I want the truth to come out. I have a lot of hope in Him, in God."
The prosecution's witnesses painted Huguely as a violent young man who struggled with his temper and alcohol.
Huguely's former lacrosse teammate Gavin Gill told the court that he vividly remembered waking up to Huguely on top of him in bed, beating him up after he had left a party the previous night with Love.
The jury recommended 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction and one year for a grand larceny conviction resulting from an allegation that Huguely stole Love's laptop computer.
Huguely's defense attorneys wrote that sentencing guidelines for convictions of second-degree murder and grand larceny "considering Mr. Huguely's negligible criminal record" recommend a sentence of 14 to 23 years.