George Huguely faces 23 years in prison

Convicted murderer George Huguely is escorted into the Charlottesville Circuit Court to receive his final sentence. Photo: John Robinson Convicted murderer George Huguely is escorted into the Charlottesville Circuit Court to receive his final sentence. Photo: John Robinson

After hearing three hours’ worth of testimony from family, friends, teammates, even a Catholic priest, Judge Edward L. Hogshire made his final decision and sentenced convicted murderer George Huguely to 23 years in prison, reduced from the jury recommended sentence of 25 years for second degree murder and one year for grand larceny.

Several of Huguely’s peers testified prior to the sentencing, including Claire Bordley and Gavin Gill, both of whom experienced Huguely’s drunken violent rage first-hand. In 2008, Bordley shared her observations of Huguely as a heavy drinker with her father, who was also Huguely’s high school lacrosse coach. She testified that after that summer, Huguely approached her in a bar, clearly angry at her for confiding in her father.

“His emotions were running high,” she said. “He was upset, and grabbed me with both hands around my neck.”

Gill was a lacrosse teammate and friend—“never best friends, but friends”—of Huguely at UVA. During his testimony he admitted to sharing “some intimate contact” with Yeardley love, Huguely’s on-and-off girlfriend.

“George was on top of me in my bedroom,” he said. “I have a snapshot of seeing him over me, and I don’t remember much after that.”

Gill’s injuries included swollen eyes and a bruised face, but he said both he and Huguely reached out to one another to reconcile.

“I overstepped my boundaries,” he said. “I didn’t want George to be punished for it.”

Testimonies also included those from Huguely’s aunt, who described him as a leader among a large family, and the Catholic priest who has visited him in jail every Monday for the past two years, who said he had “very touching and sensitive” discussions with Huguely about everything from faith to football.

Following the testimonies, Huguely stood up and addressed the Love family directly.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” he said, voice quavering. “I hope and pray that you may find peace.” He then bowed his head, seemingly overcome with emotion, and slowly lowered himself back into his chair to await the judge’s final decision.

Commonwealth attorney Dave Chapman addressed a slew of reporters on the courthouse steps after the sentencing.

“We believe that the jurors here in Charlottesville got it right,” he said.

When a reporter questioned whether or not Yeardley Love got justice, Chapman responded simply: “All I see is loss.”

Close behind Chapman were defense attorneys  Rhonda Quagliana and Fran Lawrence, who earlier requested a maximum sentence of 14 years.

“We fundamentally believe in the jury system and in our courts,” Quagliana said. “But we fundamentally disagree that the conviction in this case for second degree murder was at all appropriate, and we basically disagree with the sentence that was imposed today.”

She went on to say that her client was convicted of a crime “inconsistent with the facts,” and assured the press that he will in fact appeal the convictions and his sentence.