tv 9 News Now Tonight CBS February 22, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
a murder trial, you actually get a copy of the jury instructions so you can go through and check everything off. we didn't have that. and so they started talking about jury instruction number 14. jury instruction number 15. jury instruction number 23. and the jurors said that they were confused and thought that there was some conflict or contradiction between those different jury instructions. they never got that straightened out. the one thing we were able to do in the public and in the media, what was said in open court was that one of those instructions had to do with this intent. what we have been talking about all along and whether intent was a required prerequisite. another had to do with her death. that had been the defense's case all along. whether george huguely caused
her death or whether she died as the defense suggested from suffocating. apparently the jurors did not believe that. they thought that george huguely caused her death in some way and that's what the prosecutor, what was medical examiner, what many of the prosecution expert witnesses said. the pathologist, that she died from blunt force trauma to the head. that's what the jurors believed. but it is kind of interesting in that one point, the defense attorney actually told the jurors in his closing arguments that george huguely contributed to yeardley love's death, but didn't cause her death. so it was a tough place. but again, that was their issue. this question of intent and causation. and we can't read it, hopefully some point when they are done
with this sentencing phase, we'll get to hear from some of the jurors, we'll get to hear from the prosecutor and families. this has been a matter of intense media interest and you can see all the cameras that are lined up here. there are also, i'm not sure, jeff, if we can move. can we move or not? there are also cameras and reporters and satellite trucks lined up all up and down here. so this word is going out as we speak to you all over the country. and this case has been fascinating to so many people because it deals with so many of these terrible hot button issues. these questions about dating violence, these questions about college drinking. about binge drinking, about athletes. and all of those were wrapped up in this case to remind people we now have a verdict. second-degree murder guilty for george huguely. he killed yeardley love. he murdered yeardley love.
and as well as grand larceny. the jurors had the option of going down to voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. they picked second-degree murder. >> bruce, let's talk a little bit about second-degree murder if people are just joining us. there's no need to establish premeditation, but there is to talk about malice. i saw one legal expert describe this as, you need hardness of heart that even if he didn't intend to kill her, he hurt her badly. the fact he didn't talk to anyone about what had happened with yeardley love and if i understand correctly, was alive for some time after that. did that play into this to some degree in finding this middle road, so to speak, verdict? >> reporter: yeah, it's hard to know. but that testimony was interesting and the prosecutor talked about it how after the murder, george huguely went back to his roommates, went
back to his room and a bunch of his roommates were watching tv and drinking and he sat down there and one of them thought he was acting so strangely that he said, george, where have you been? and george said to him, i was downstairs hanging out with another man downstairs in this apartment complex. well the roommates knew that couldn't possibly be the case. that he couldn't have been downstairs hanging out with a guy and drinking because they knew the guy was working on a paper. they actually called downstairs and said, i think it was mr. clemens. were you drinking with george? why don't you come up and join us. he said no, i'm working on this paper. i've been working on this paper all along, george hasn't been here. the roommate told the jury, george was obviously lying and we couldn't figure out why he
was lying. it was only later in light of yeardley love's death that he was lying. three more times he said to him, what's the matter with you, george? and george just stared straight ahead blankly, offered no explanation. that, the prosecutor said, all went to this question of malice, intent, and knowledge he had done something horrible and today the jury agreed and found him guilty of second- degree murder. >> we heard from kristen bruce about the reaction a little bit of the family in the courtroom. has anybody seen the families from either side since the verdict came out? >> reporter: let me bring kristen back in. she has a microphone, so hopefully. i'm not sure if you were able to hear her before. derek is asking about the families at all, whether we've heard from them, seen them, i know they have been very quiet up until now. >> we have been ordered by the judge not to approach them. so that is why we haven't heard
them or really tried to speak with them. but as i said before, when the sentencing came down, the verdict came down, both love's family and huguely's family was absolutely silent. love's family, her mom and sister lowered their head, closed their eyes and really just took it in, trying to make sense of all the different things that they were learning, of course, that he had been found guilty of second-degree murder. and grand larceny charge. i actually, from the last time i saw you all, tried to go back inside the courtroom, but not allowed in because the sentencing hearing has already started. this is moving very, very quickly. this judge made it very clear that ideally he would like to have this over with by tonight, but he already placed that 10:00 p.m. deadline, which is of course just about three hours away now. so we'll see if they can get it done in time. >> reporter: you know, another thing that -- go ahead. >> you talked about the
maximum for this second-degree murder and the larceny, 40 years. do we know on the other end, the minimum? i know there is time served already involved in this case, so there was some discussion that there's a wide area that these jurors have to look at. >> reporter: yeah, i think they do have a wide option in terms of what they can find on the negative end. as i speak to you, i'm trying to find in my phone the e-mail in which i got a little line up on all the different potential penalties here. but it is interesting to note another murder case from 2003 here in the city of charlottesville and a fairly wealthy young uva student was accused and convicted of killing a volunteer firefighter here in charlottesville in a bar fight. and the jurors actually determined in that case that it was either voluntary or
involuntary manslaughter that was manslaughter. and they ended up recommending a sentence of just three years in a case where this very popular firefighter was killed in the city of charlottesville and there was a lot of anger among a lot of the public about that verdict. and so it will be interesting to see what happens with this one. >> you mention the jury recommended, how much leeway does the judge have to change that jury recommendation? can he increase it, decrease it? how does it work? >> reporter: he cannot increase it, but he can decrease it. what's going to happen is the jury is going to get this end tonight or tomorrow and they'll recommend an actual sentence of some kind. then there will be some interviews, presentencing reports, background on george huguely by experts and interviews with him and so forth. they'll come up with a report to the judge and then at some
point, the judge is going to look at all those recommendations and impose the actual sentence. but he cannot go over. he cannot go over what the jury recommends he can go only reduce the sentence from -- on the basis of some of his reports and the nature of the crime and so forth. >> i think it's important for you to note that the sentencing itself will not happen tonight. they will get the recommendation, perhaps from jury trial, but the judge has a will the of considerations to take into account before he lays out the sentence for george huguely. >> reporter: right. and so at some point down the road, probably in a matter of weeks or maybe a month or two, then the judge will impose the sentence. >> bruce, i heard they wanted to take a look at the video taped statement george huguely made with police to possibly look at his reaction when he found out from officers that in fact yeardley love was dead. am i correct in that?
what are some of the other things the jurors seem to focus on as they went through the deliberating process? >> reporter: i think they definitely wanted to look at that tape and the tape was incredible and one of the interest things to me in this case is that if you had just taken the evidence, the dna from yeardley love underneath george huguely's fingernails, the dna from george huguely under yeardley love's fingernails when she was found there all but certain a mixture of their two dna's. you had that, you had the battered door. you had this testimony from the roommates. you had this e-mail saying i should have killed you. this letter apologizing for attacking her before, for putting his arm around her throat, saying i can't believe how out of control i can be. you had all this other testimony and then you had this
video tape in which at first huguely says yeah, we struggled, i might have grabbed her throat. you nee, her head may have hit the wall. all this other stuff. when the detectives tell him she's dead, he says no, how could she be dead? he sobs and curses and says you lied to me. that piece of evidence may have made it more of a challenge for jurors to reach a conclusion in this case. they had this, what appeared to be authentic surprise from george huguely when he learned that yeardley love is dead. so i got a quick rundown on the sentencing guidelines. first-degree murder, whether premeditated or felony murder, of course he didn't get either of those, from 20 years to life. second-degree murder, five years to 40 years. other charges that he was not convicted of, lesser charges on these cases of killing another.
manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary, the sentence can go from 0 to 10 years. and let me go down to grand larceny, which is the other count he was convicted of, 0 to 20 years. potentially when you add up the second-degree murder, the maximum 40 years, plus 20 years for grand larceny. there's a potential he could do 60 years in prison. he is 24 years right now. he may die in prison, although that seems unlikely. >> thank you so much. you have been there from day one bringing us all the details. we'll be back as soon as we know more.
welcome back to wusa9 special coverage of the conviction in the yeardley love murder trial. we now know the verdict is guilty of second-degree murder and larceny. >> we have debra heins to talk a little bit about this verdict. again, we were just talking about right before here in the break, were you surprised how long it took for them to come back? >> absolutely. i thought they were going to come back with a verdict shortly after lunch. when it dragged on and on and on, i kind of thought there is
someone in there fighting for first and second and other people that are more on the defense side. compromised verdict. >> there are some that thought it should have been first- degree? >> i am one of those. there was enough evidence to convict him of first-degree. doesn't get any clearer. when he came into her bedroom door, busting a hole, he wasn't coming in there to talk. >> the fact he had been drinking all day long, does that have any bearing on his ability to have intent? >> he still had intent. he may have been shocked at the end of the day that she died, but there was enough to have intent. the intent can be a very short time period. it doesn't have to be he planned it ahead of time. the intent has to be the moment he went in that bedroom. >> his defense attorney portrayed him as this kid, this
kid who went astray with alcohol. young athlete, is he playing on something that some sympathy degree of people thinking wow, what if that was my child that went down this path? >> you know, i honestly didn't like that because they were portraying someone who killed someone as boys will be boys. it was a clear case of domestic violence. there wasn't much sympathy there. >> what was your take on the video tape itself? we haven't seen the video tape, but we have heard about it. bruce leshan described it as pivotal. he also describes it as something that could have cut both ways. >> exactly. that's why both sides wanted to have the video tape played and that's what the jury wanted to see, to see whether or not he had the intent, he was shocked about her dying, but then it also played into the prosecution's hand as well. >> what you were saying, the shock there. what they were saying, he was
genuinely seemed to be shocked that he had killed her. clearly the jury believed that what he did led to her death, but does that play into the intent at all that maybe he did not mean to do this? >> again, it's a classic case of a domestic violence case. the boyfriend who has been abusing the girlfriend. a husband that has been abusing the wife. they are always going to say they did not intend to kill the person. that does not make it not be a murder. >> all right, fair enough. let us take it down to bruce leshan who is live in charlottesville and has a question or two for debbie as well. bruce, can you hear us? >> reporter: yeah, i want to let you guys know that lexi love is on the stand right now as we go directly into sentencing phase on this second- degree murder count and this grand larceny count. the jury is going to consider and recommend to the judge an actual punishment and right now lexi love, yeardley's sister is on the stand talking. i will tell you, i ran into her
here at the courthouse and it's a little bit like seeing a ghost. she looks exactly like her sister. so i wanted to ask debra what she thought the impact of this kind of victim testimony might be and on the other hand, how were the jurors going to take george huguely's father who apparently has had a substance abuse problem himself, has a history of driving while intoxicated and so forth and apparently they have had this broken relationship. he got divorced a long time ago. george huguely grew up under those circumstances. some financial trouble despite coming from this wealthy family. what impact are those statements on either side going to have, debra, on the jurors do you think? >> the jury weighs both sides of the equation. they are going to weigh what yeardley love's sister said, which is going to be very compelling. she lost her sister. her family lost a daughter. it's also going to be very
compelling as to what the father of george huguely says as well. i think they are going to weigh both and come out -- they probably have pretty much decided where they are leaning in terms of leniency and this is going to be a matter of what is more convincing for them. >> we know that virginia is known to be a tough state. i know lawyers say they had criminals stop on the 14th street bridge rather than going into virginia because they know the hammer would come down once they got there. what's your sense of how tough this is likely to be in terms of a sentence on george huguely? >> i think the sentence is going to be on the higher end, definitely. >> debra, thank you for joining us and giving us insight on patterns that we can see in domestic violence cases and need to take seriously. >> exactly. >> we'll be back in just a minute.
welcome back to 9news now. we do have a verdict in the george huguely murder trial. guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny. >> bruce leshan has been live on the scene of the trial all week long for us. bruce, the jury now is working on the sentencing. what's going on down there? >> reporter: well, sharon love testified, you can only imagine the pain that she expressed. there was no questions at all
from the defense for sharon love and lexi love, yeardley love's sister also testified on the horrible impact that this has had on her life and on her family. george huguely's father is here. we expect when the defense has a chance that he will present. but nearly two years after this horrible murder that shocked the uva community. this case of one lacrosse player murdering his sometime girlfriend. another lacrosse player, finally have some answers. second-degree murder for george huguely as well as grand larceny. he stole her laptop worth more than $200. now into the sentencing phase, the potential that this young man, 24 years old, could get as much as 60 years in prison. >> and again, they're going through that hearing and then what happens after that point? does the jury then go back and continue to deliberate over the sentencing aspect?
what's your thoughts, bruce? >> reporter: yeah, the judge said he would be willing to go until 10:00 p.m. tonight. they do have to go back and after taking all this testimony, we expect that it could take a couple hours, maybe slightly more than that. they'll go back and deliberate. now whether those deliberations will take place tonight or tomorrow morning, we're going to have to wait and see. then they'll come back with a decision of sentencing recommendation. the judge will take that recommendation. there will be some presentence reports and then at some point, maybe in a month or so, the judge will actually impose the sentence on george huguely. the son of a long time, chevy chase family now convicted of second-degree murder. >> thank you, bruce. >> all right bruce leshan. debbie heins has been with us all along. very quickly, a time frame on the sentencing once it's done by the jury. how long do you think it will
take? >> the judge can't increase the sentence, he can only undercut the sentence or give the same sentence. usually what they'll do is order a presentence investigation report and other favorable information. but it could be within a matter of days or weeks. >> this could happen fairly quickly. >> and also, you were saying your take on this particular verdict? >> my take on it is, it is a compromised verdict. there were people that were pulling for a lesser and obviously some pulling for felony murder or first-degree murder. but it is still a case of domestic violence and i think there was enough evidence for first-degree murder. >> defense attorney was in no win for this particular case? >> he had an uphill battle. >> thank you so much. we appreciate your expertise tonight. this has been a long running case. it's not quite over yet. but obviously the share of the work has been done and we appreciate your time tonight. >> and of course, we will be following this throughout the evening. bruce leshan, kristin fisher, our news crews are down there
as the sentencing hearing -- we understand the hearing just ended. this is moving on at a rapid pace. no defense witnesses will be presented in this sentencing hearing. >> the jury is now deliberating. so perhaps later tonight, they may have a sentencing recommendation. of course we'll have it for you as soon as we know. >> stay with us on 9news now and wusa9.com. >> we'll see you at 11:00.
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