On February 22, 2012, George Huguely, the University of VA lacrosse player who murdered his girlfriend, UVA women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and felony theft—robbery. He was facing first degree murder, felony murder and some lesser crimes. Huguely who on the night of May 3, 2010 broke into Love’s apartment and after kicking in the bedroom door, brutally attacked her by hitting her head against the wall. He left leaving Love to die. She died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Huguely and Love had an on again off again tumultuous relationship fueled with domestic violence and drinking. Huguely on prior accounts had choked Love and admitted remorse at not killing her in one Email. On May 10, 2010, he made good on his previous promise.
The jury recommended a sentence of 26 years—the judge will sentence Huguely in April. The judge cannot increase the jury’s recommendation.
Huguely hails from an upper class family in Chevy Chase, MD. He attended a prestigious private school before attending UVA. No doubt that his family background played into the jury’s decision to convict him of 2nd degree, a lesser crime than first degree. First degree carries a lifetime sentence. While Hugely may spend a substantial amount of time in jail for his crime, he will not face life.
The jurors, may have subconsciously looked at Huguely and wondered if he could have been their son or brother in similar circumstances. All I know is if Huguely was a minority and from a family of lesser means, he would not be facing a 2nd degree murder sentence. He would have been starring down a 1st degree murder or felony conviction.
Race and class play a role in everything in our society. And today from the UVA lacrosse player verdict, it played a role in George Huguely’s fate. He should have been convicted of first degree murder. Premeditation does not require a well thought out plan in advance. The decision to formulate a killing can be as short of time as from when Huguely kicked in Love’s door to when he attacked her. From the blunt force displayed, he came to the decision to kill her and then expressed shock that she had died during his interrogation. His class saved him from experiencing the full justice that was due for Yeardley Love.