Closing arguments: Intent and malice debated in Love's death

Attorneys in the murder trial of George Huguely made their final pleas to the jury to convict– or not convict so harshly– the defendant for the death of Yeardley Love after the defense rested around 2pm Saturday, February 18. During the roughly 90 minutes each side spent, the prosecution hammered home the brutal attack on Love when she thought she was safe at home, and the defense argued that Huguely had no intent to murder Love or to steal her laptop– the taking of which added five additional felony charges to the first-degree murder charge he's facing.

Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman was practically weeping as he faced the jury and began to lay out his case.

"On May 2nd, 2010, Yeardley Love made a decision that was life changing for her, her mother and her sister: She decided to stay home," said Chapman. "She lay down to sleep. She made a choice to stay in the safety of her home," he said with his voice wavering.

Chapman noted how locked doors could have changed the course of events that night: "If only Yeardley or [roommate] Caity [Whiteley] had locked the front door," he said. Later, he mentioned Huguely's downstairs neighbor, Chris Clements, who had locked his door to keep the drunken lacrosse player out because Clements had a paper to finish. "If only Chris Clements hadn't locked his door," lamented the prosecutor.

Perhaps most damning, said Chapman, was Huguely's decision to lie to his friends after he came back from Love's apartment, and said he'd been drinking downstairs with Clements and another friend. "Why in the world would George Huguely lie to them?" he asked.

Defense attorney Fran Lawrence suggested that Huguely was not truthful to his friends because of the recent, tumultuous nature of Huguely's relationship with Love, including her coming to his apartment at 2am April 28 and hitting him with her purse. But Chapman would return in his rebuttal to Huguely's lie about his whereabouts that night.

According to Chapman, taking the computer was a way for Huguely to control Love in an abusive relationship. She'd lost her cellphone on the night of the purse smacking, and the laptop was the only way for her to communicate with a lacrosse player at Carolina, Mike Burns, with whom she'd hooked up and had taunted Huguely that Burns was a better lover. And days before her death, Huguely sent her the email that said, "I should have killed you."

Chapman also accused Huguely of lying in his interview with police on the morning of May 3 when he told the officers Love had opened the door for him, that he hadn't threatened her, and that he hadn't taken anything from Love's apartment.

"At the end of the day, he tells the truth about the door, and he tells the truth about the computer," Lawrence responded.

Chapman did note some truth in Huguely's interview when the defendant said Love was freaking out. "You bet she was freaking out," he said, after Huguely put a hole in her bedroom door.

As the jurors grimly looked on, the prosecutor displayed photos of Love's injuries– the abrasions on her chin, her swollen eye, the marks on her right wrist– which he said told the story of how Love tried to get away from Huguely. "You can see the evidence on her face and inside her mouth," he said. "You can see it in the brain injury she received. She was incapacitated."

When a 6-foot, 200 pound Division 1 athlete throws Love, a 5'4" woman "weighing little more than 100 pounds," on the floor, said Chapman, "the floor doesn't give." Lawrence later noted that Love weighed 117 pounds.

To convict Huguely of first-degree murder and its life sentence, Chapman needs to convince the jury that Huguely's behavior was "willful, deliberate and premeditated" when he went to Love's apartment, kicked in her door, and assaulted her. And in Virginia, willful intoxication is never a defense for a crime– except for first-degree murder.

But should the jury decide Huguely's actions weren't premeditated, Chapman reminded them of another charge in which his drunkenness doesn't matter: murder in the commission of a robbery.

He also noted that if the jury found no premeditation but found malice in Huguely's actions, they should return a second-degree murder conviction."If you're a 200-pound Division 1 guy with your arm wrapped around a woman driving her face into the floor, isn't that malice?" asked Chapman. "Alcohol is not a defense to this," he added.

When defense attorney Lawrence began his at-times rambling close, he'd already had a rough day that started with being chastised by the judge for his partner, Rhonda Quagliana, improperly contacting witnesses about prosecution witnesses' testimony.

Lawrence held up a sketch of a rabbit to the jury that somehow was supposed to illustrate reasonable doubt, and said if they have two different interpretations of a sketch, they should pick the one with the better outcome for his client.

And he pooh-poohed Chapman's notion that Love was a victim of domestic violence, and that Huguely had taken the laptop to control her, reminding them that the commonwealth's attorney previously had said the laptop theft was a deliberate attempt to hide the threatening emails. "Now he's going with felony murder because he knows there's no intent to kill," said Lawrence.

The soft-voiced attorney is not one for raising his voice in court, but, in his closing, he raised it a notch: "The Commonwealth is ZEALOUS in this case," he said, "and we respectfully submit, overzealous," perhaps referring to multiple charges piled on Huguely.

Said Lawrence, "George bears responsibility for her death. It's never been our position that he doesn't." And he drew an objection from Chapman when he said that Huguely's "sadness for Yeardley is completely real."

Lawrence described the 14th Street neighborhood where Love and Huguely lived as "almost a twenty-something ghetto" with lots of attractive people, jilted lovers, and "lots of drama."

In that world, he said, there was nothing strange about going over to each other's houses late, which Love had done when she showed up at Huguely's apartment at 2am when he had two high school students there, which resulted in the purse-smack incident. And Lawrence pointed out again that the only time anyone had gotten hit in that relationship, it was Huguely.

As for the "I should have killed you email," said Lawrence, "It's hyperbole."

Lawrence was not flattering toward his client, calling Huguely's actions "stupid and drunk, but not calculating." And he repeatedly stressed that Huguely had no intent to kill Love.

According to the crib-death defense, Love died from positional asphyxia, suffocating face down in her pillow. "Yes, George contributed to her death, but he didn't kill her," said Lawrence. "He left there and she was alive– there's no dispute."

In his pitch that the jury consider involuntary manslaughter, Lawrence reminded them that Huguely left his dying girlfriend thinking she just had a nosebleed. "Is that gross disregard for human life?" he asked.

And while the prosecution contended that Love was unable to move when Huguely put her face down in the bed, said Lawrence, "We submit she got into bed on her own." And none of Love's blood was found on Huguely, which Lawrence called a "big fact."

Admitted Lawrence, "It probably was not a healthy relationship. But it was not a turbulent, domestic-violence relationship." Love was not afraid of Huguely, he insisted.

Chapman had the last word, and told the jury, with his voice raised, that second-degree murder doesn't require intent, but does require malice.

Absence of malice– and drunkenness– were what got former UVA student Andrew Alston a voluntary manslaughter conviction and three years in prison rather than second-degree murder when he stabbed unarmed 22-year-old firefighter Walker Sisk 18 times in 2003.

"When someone's little girl doesn't wake up from criminal behavior, the law is going to be followed in the city of Charlottesville," said Chapman.

And when Huguely kicked down Love's door, allegedly to talk, Chapman asked, "What kind of conversation starter is that? It's the beginning of terror. It's unimaginable to think what that woman went through."

When Chapman finished around 7pm, the jury had had enough. They'll reconvene Wednesday, February 22 to begin deliberations.


Barely had the online version of this story hit the internet when Hook legal analyst David Heilberg chimed in with a prediction that a second-degree murder conviction now seems most likely. Heilberg defended the embattled defense counselors by pointing out that the expected conviction will stem primarily from Huguely's "serious homicidal misconduct" with secondary factors being "family dysfunction and failed intervention."

This story is a part of the Huguely trial coverage special.
Read more on: George Huguely


Whatever George Huguely gets convicted for (second degree murder seems most likely from what unfolded at trial), it won't be the result of his legal defense. The entire 3 ring circus resulted from Mr. Huguely's serious homicidal misconduct. Family dysfunction and failed intervention were secondary contributing factors but experienced criminal defense attorneys see their clients in these situations almost every day. These antecedents are no more than unsurprising explanations for every kind of criminal activity but these are never legal or moral excuses for misbehavior. It's rare that all of these predictive factors coalesce into such a dangerous mix that homicide is the result. This killing was far from inevitable because of what led up to it. It occurred because George Huguely lost control of himself.

Case outcomes, whether more harsh or lenient than expected, are influenced by a defendant's original bad behavior more than any reason including the work of capable and experienced attorneys. The next time any attorney perfectly defends a case will be the first time this has occurred in history anywhere. No doubt, Rhonda Quagliana was seriously ill. Outsiders can't fathom the strain of almost 2 years of steady work culminating in what was likely work days exceeding 12 hours for 6 or 7 days each week during the month before the trial. The prosecution worked equally hard to get ready. During the trial itself, opposing attorneys work on a case for 14, 15 or maybe 16 hours each day with almost every waking moment, when not in the midst of trial, spent getting ready for the next day of trial. The unavoidable fatigue of such a grueling responsibility almost always leads to mistakes. I have no doubt, as Fran Lawrence stated, that Rhonda Quagliana's lapse was unintentional.

Fran Lawrence has been in such combat before. We handled a trial side by side for co-defendants that lasted more than 3 weeks a number of years ago in Federal Court. I respect the quality work of a great number of excellent attorneys I know, but I never worked on a single case in Court with anyone longer than in that jury trial with Mr. Lawrence. My first hand personal experience with him back then left me the highest level of respect that anyone can have for a professional colleague.

Dave Chapman deserves credit too for his obvious preparation and focus to overcome difficulties with his case from beginning to end.

As attorney John Davidson effectively wrote in another thread, nobody likes a criminal defense attorney until you actually need one.

If there is a manslaughter or lenient sentencing verdict, it won't be because Dave Chapman did something wrong. Likewise, a murder conviction and harsh sentence won't be mainly caused by questionable work of defense counsel. The outcome of this case will result more from the jury's judgment about George Huguely's culpability than anything else.

Mr. Heilberg,

I am completely floored that you have chosen to comment on this case on a public forum. You are, arguably, the best defense attorney in Cville, but I would be nervous that you were espousing legal opinions on a public forum if I had hired you as my defense attorney. Hopefully I'm never in the position where I need such services, but your public opine has worried me...

Surprised- why are you surprised?

You just interviewed an attorney without getting charged.

Thanks Mr.Heilberg for your professional insight.

Like OJ simpson, this case is a prime example of the importance of jury selection. I disagree iwth mr Heilberg that family dysfunction should has anything to do with this case whatsoever and don't warrant a comment.

Not sure what the purpose would be of Mr, Heilberg posting. The blame of family and no intervention worries me. He must be working on a case wth no sleep if he thnks attorneys work 12 hour days 6-7 days a week on one case. An addendum might me that the paralegals and interns work 13-15 hours a day on one case. One of the jobs as an intern is to comb through every thing posted on the web including comments posted here.

@Surprised. Another lawyer in town, LLoyd Snook has been a chn29 commentator on trial issues all week. Do you find that problematic ?
He even has a blog with his opinions and a link to the TV station at the bottom .

Bear - I guess the defense knows the jury has at least one person who can relate to blackout drinking, one rage filled jelous man, and one older woman smitten with his young charming looks. Seems to me, Lawrance is banking on this.

The jury waits until Wednesay. Are they sequestered? This means they have Saturday night, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to be bombarded with information about this trial and to mull over the information in their head whch depending on how they feel can either make his more of a monster or more of a hapless drunk who just wanted to talk.

Yes Baltimore, it means that at least one juror will have the time to rethink.

If I were on the prosecution team I would have hoped for a Saturday night verdict, after their compelling closing statement and the missteps of the defense. Now time will allow doubts to build and passion to be forgotten.

Its all brilliantly calculated...probably by a paralegal.

all I know is that I hope I'm never in a situaton that both these family's found themselves in.
I don't know how I would handle it if my nephew was accused of murder. Do you turn your back on him and join everyone with the pitchfoks and torches? I honestly don't think I would. I know a lot of you are going to say, "my nephew would never be in that situation".
Never say never.

Did they defend him? I must have missed that. Lazy and unprepared....

Prediction: Guilty 2nd degree murder in addition to guilty verdicts on some of the lesser charges. Judge will allow Huguely to serve the various sentences concurrently (as opposed to consecutively). 25 years. With good behavior and time served, Huguely will be out in 19 years at the age of 43.

Mr. heilberg-
The defense attorney should be disbarred for her unethical behavior! How convenient she was "sick". This surely gave here additional time to illegally prep her paid witnesses. we the people are not blind to her antics! Let us prayer to God that the jury sees the defense attorneys and Georgie for what they are. Scum of the earth!

To the defense attorneys - how do you sleep at night? Do you have children? How would you feel???
May you never get that phone call...

Alina - shameful...that's all I can say. Don't you have two daughters right around the age of Yeardley when your little Georgey bashed her head in? Consider that...

Let's all have a moment of prayer that the Jury does the right thing. And then, when the media circus leaves town, who is willing to step up to the plate to make sure that women are free of violence in Charlottesville? Certainly no one at the University is concerned, and they supply our town annually with some of the most spoiled, deviant young men Virginia has to offer.

From just the info in he article it seems that Mr chapman gave the jury an out for murder one by saying that George took the laptop to "prevent" comunication with the other guy. If he knew he killed her then there is no need to stop any communication. So if I were on the jury, by Mr Chapmans own words would i not have to conclude that he left her alaive and asumed she would not die?

I mean i hope he gets murder one.. but this seems strange to me for him to not stick with the theft to cover up the murder.

Did I miss something?

wow ellie...I hope you never need a defense attorney. I know I and your family are pristine. People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Like I said before, if it was your nephew you would be singing (off key of course) a different tune.

Anyone ever look up definition of UVA's nickname, the Wahoos? It is, "a large predatory tropical marine fish (Acanthocybium solanderi) of the mackerel family, prized as a game fish." If that's not ironic, I don't know what is...

Couple questions for the Hook, as I have been following the case and your paper on Twitter :

1. From what I understand, the prosecution noted that Huguely took the computer in order to "control" Love. Did the defense ever mention in closing that if he wanted to control her by taking her computer and not letting her write emails in the future, he must have thought she was alive?

2. Also from what I understand, the prosecution noted that Huguely was so drunk that he should not be trusted as an "active observer" of what happened that night. Did the defense ever mention in closing that if this were true, then he probably was not able to have formed "intent" that night as well?

I'm not sure of the right decision's a completely sad and tragic case either way. I have felt nauseous as I followed along for both parties involved. These were just a couple things that jumped out at me and wanted to hear the Hook's observations on. Thanks!

@Wahoo Coyote -

1. Actually Huguely's own words were he took the computer as "collateral" but then threw the collateral into the dumpster? And the defense has stated he had no intent on taking the computer when he entered. Or, he took the computer to hide evidence of their email exchanges?

2. Actually it is the defense that has noted how drunk Huguely is where the Prosecution has stated time and time again that that should have no bearing on the verdict. What has been posed here is it is obvious that Huguely had a drinking problem and those that continue to drink their tolerance is higher and they are able to function better than just a casual drinker. Also, how drunk was he by midnight that fatal night.

What I find more tragic is that if someone commits murder, no matter what it is from 1st degree to manslaughter - they get more time than someone who deals drugs. That to me is sickening.

In thinking, there is one individual I would want dead, and had I done it say 20 years ago, I would be out now. Which makes no sense. If I was a drug dealer, I would be in jail possibly for life?

For all those who are critical of Heilberg's comment, there have been several defense attorneys who have been interviewed and given their blow by blow accounts to the media, who are not part of the case but know the law. Please remember, they have the experience and the legal training to have a bit better insight than we all do.

Mr. Heilberg - the best way to aviod having to hire a criminal attorney is to never do anything criminal in the first place, I'm just sayin'. Though if I knew anyone who needed a criminal attorney yours is one of the three names I would give to hire.

i would go with manslaughter

Mr. Heilberg is a private citizen. Is someone actually implying that the provenance of his opinion is somehow improper? Hogwash!

Boo Radley, your prediction sounds to me to be reasonable and could be a decent yardstick for how the ultimate sentence could be measured. More than 25 years (which I'm hoping for) should be viewed as a victory for the prosecution. Less than that should be seen as a victory for the defense, in my opinion. I personally would like to see upwards of 40 years imposed. I would prefer that Mr. Huguely not breath free air as a young nor middle aged man.

Let us hope that this jury is not like the jury in the Sisk case. Certainly it seems that the defense in this case is far less robust than it was in that one. The facts in this case are also far worse for the defendant. Indeed, sometimes the facts are indefensible.

When you are reduced to begging for mercy and mercy means an involuntary manslaughter conviction, you've got a loser case and a dog for a client.

Let us hope that on Wednesday the good people of Charlottesville can begin to forget George Huguely. Let us hope that after that day he becomes the concern of the correctional system of the State of Virginia and his fellow inmates for a long, long time.

manslaughter, chouva? And you'd just forgive the larceny and the breaking and entering because, you know, what the heck?

He lied so many times in his police interview, to believe manslaughter you basically have to believe that the only thing he was truthful about was his most heinous act. It strains credulity to believe that the subject about which he had the most motivation to lie, he was actually truthful while he was lying about the lesser crimes.

There have been so many UVa connected people that opine that he should be given a lesser sentence that it's actually disturbing. I wonder what Mr. Jefferson would think of this miscreant? I wonder what punishment he would have received in those days?

Cville Native:

What a nice thing to say. I've been called on to comment about this case regularly since the killing occurred but try not to go overboard getting attention (though a certain amount is flattering). I will comment about cases handled by others but, beyond answering procedural questions, never comment about a pending case where I am involved. Frankly, if you learn about one of my cases while I'm handling it, that is contrary to what I try to accomplish. If you are in trouble, the last thing that you want (though it is sometimes unavoidable) is attention and publicity.

Finally, on the point of simply not violating the law, I have a favorite answer to the predictably regular question I field whenever giving a risk management talk to college students. Someone inevitably asks how to invoke their right to tell a police officer that they can't search their car during a traffic stop. My answer is always that you have that right but that won't stop an unscrupolous police officer from doing this anyway and then claiming that you gave consent. It's like waving a red cape in front of a bull. Avoiding this problem involves much more basic advice: Never possess anything that you don't want the police to find in an illegal search of your home, vehicle or person.

Mr. Heilberg -- Please! Do you really feel we should feel sorry for attorneys who are earning thousands of dollars --and not doing a very good job defending their client? Come on -- what a blatant, self-interested pro-attorney statement from a lawyer. Everyone knows that Charlottesville sorely lacks quality criminal defense representation. And lots more know it now.

I appreciate the comments from those with legal credentials and trial experience. I've read about the definitions of 2nd degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and the potential sentences associated with each---a fairly wide range of years in each case. I'm curious about how either sentence might actually play out in terms of length of time actually served and where (and under what conditions) time would be served. Can anyone draw on past cases and verdicts and make a general prediction?

i'm with chouva at manslaughter being the most reasonable finding, though murder 2 is not out of the question if the jury is overly moved by the grieving family.

Mr. Heilberg or Cville Native (as she has revealed her family has some connection with VA Dept. of Corrections) may have more info on this, but from what I understand, there will be a couple issues on length of sentence.

In the first instance, if the defendant is convicted and sentenced to time, will he be given credit for the time he has already spent in jail? This is up to the sentencing judge.

If he is convicted of more than one offense, will the sentences run concurrently (simultaneously) or consecutively (cumulative number of years)? Again, up to the sentencing judge.

There is no longer any right to parole in VA, but there is a formula for sentence reduction based on good behavior during the time served. I don't remember the specific formula, but the rule of thumb, I believe, is that the minimum time would be about 85% of the total years sentenced.

A distinction between a sentence for Murder 2 vs. a manslaughter conviction would be the type of facility where the sentence would start to be served, I believe. More violent offenders start out in higher security facilities. One convicted of murder 2 can work himself down to a less secure facility with time and good behavior, FWIW, I believe that is harder to do in the VA system with a murder 1 conviction.

18.2-32. First and second degree murder defined; punishment.

Murder, other than capital murder, by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment,starving, or by any willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or in thecommission of, or attempt to commit, arson, rape, forcible sodomy, inanimateor animate object sexual penetration, robbery, burglary or abduction, exceptas provided in 18.2-31, is murder of the first degree, punishable as aClass 2 felony.

All murder other than capital murder and murder in the first degree is murderof the second degree and is punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than five nor more than forty years.

(Code 1950, 18.1-21; 1960, c. 358; 1962, c. 42; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1976, c.503; 1977, cc. 478, 492; 1981, c. 397; 1993, cc. 463, 490; 1998, c. 281.)

This is Manslaughter which is what the Defense hopes for:

18.2-36.1. Certain conduct punishable as involuntary manslaughter.

A. Any person who, as a result of driving under the influence in violation ofclause (ii), (iii), or (iv) of 18.2-266 or any local ordinance substantially similar thereto unintentionally causes the death of another person, shall be guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

B. If, in addition, the conduct of the defendant was so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, he shall be guiltyof aggravated involuntary manslaughter, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one nor more than 20 years, one year of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.

C. The provisions of this section shall not preclude prosecution under any other homicide statute. This section shall not preclude any other revocationor suspension required by law. The driver's license of any person convicted under this section shall be revoked pursuant to subsection B of 46.2-391.

(1989, cc. 554, 574; 1992, c. 862; 1994, cc. 635, 682; 1999, cc. 945, 987;2000, cc. 956, 982; 2004, c. 461.)

GH5 has served 2 years - with the maximum of 10 years for Manslaughter he would serve another 8 and Virginia requires 85% of the sentance to be served before release which equates to 8.5 years - 2 years is 6.5 years.

If given the maximum of 40 years, just for Murder 2 - he would serve 34 years - 2 years already served = 32 years.

It depends on how the Judge phrases his time if months it is in a local facility - however the Judge would state years which is Department of Corrections - DOC. Where? That is up to DOC. However, note that ACRJ does house DOC prisoners for up to 2 years and longer, they are also reimbursed by the state for containing those prisoners too. Remember budget cuts could keep him or any other in ACRJ for some time too.


You already answered your own questions pretty well. First, Mr. Huguely will get credit for his time served so far.

Second, Judges rarely modify jury verdicts. What the jury decides for a sentence is what will be later imposed by the Judge in at least 90% of cases. Unless the Judge acts to run some of the different sentences concurrently, all time for each separate offense will be consecutive. I only see Judges running time concurrently when the exact same act or action constitutes more than one separate conviction. Here, breaking down the door (burglary), the felonious assault (homicide) and theft of the computer (larceny) were all separate acts though they occurred over a short period of time in a single incident. The robbery charge is the least convincing crime (because he didn't assault her with the preconceived or contemporaneous intent to commit larceny) and is most likely to result in acquittal or a hung jury. If convicted, some or all of that time might run concurrently with other sentences. I expect that, for the most part, all time imposed for each separate crime of conviction will run consecutively. If, in the verdict form (I haven't seen it), the jury has the option to convict of both felony murder and conventional murder, then those separate sentences would run concurrently. However, the jury might be instructed that they can only convict under one of these two theories and acquit on the other. I haven't seen how the Judge submitted these issues to the jury.

Huguely will serve 85% of his final sentence with parole abolished. His classification by the DOC might be affected by whether he is convicted of manslaughter or murder if there is a secured facility distinction as you suggest. I would need to check this to give a better answer. However, correctional regulations change frequently and without public notice, so most attorneys can't keep up with these rules.

It is hard for those who work for the Correctional Facilities to keep up with the regulations too!

And the factility he is sent to depends upon what he is convicted of, thank you for that reminder Mr. Heilberg.

Many who are charged with criminal activity also choose not to get out on bail and start serving their time in order to reduce the sentence after conviction. With pending trial, your life is on hold anyway.

My take on the role of the computer is this. GHV said Love was awake and staring at him when he left, with nothing but a bloody nose. If so, why didn't she either stop the theft of the computer, or go get help after he was gone--clearly she would be dead within hours. She had to have wanted help from someone.

Alternatively, as I believe, he knew he had knocked her out. Whether he thought he had killed her is a mystery, but he very well knew she was in grave danger —unconscious due to his blows— and he did nothing to help her (gross disregard for human life) and stole the computer as a cover up and then lied about it at the police statement as he had immediately disposed of the computer upon leaving Love's apartment.

Or, he knew or believed her to be dead and did the above.

But the bottom line is that his statements to police were all over the map, making none of them credible yet all of them incriminating. And, it's worth noting, he wasn't so drunk that he blacked out the night. He recalled his entire day and his visit to Love's. Blackouts from drunkenness, we might remember, involve not being able to piece together almost anything of the night before.

In the end, the computer hurts him no matter which way you cut it.

Does someone have a list of the five offenses and their underlying VA code numbers? I have the five charges as Murder 1, Felony Murder (18.2-32), Robbery(??), Burglary(18.2.89), Statutory Burglary(18.2-91 ??), and Grand Larceny (18.2-95).

Trying to noodle through the Felony Murder charges (and the evidence of the alleged underlying felonies). My interest was again piqued by Mr. Heilberg's analysis the burglary charges, since I understood Burglary to require intent to commit larceny or other felony upon entry -- not just a "breaking and entering." The wording of both the Burglary statute and the "Statutory Burglary" statute I listed above require such intent, which I interpreted as breaking/entering because one one intended to commit a felony. I have not researched the case law on this, though. Grand Larceny, alone, does not appear to trigger felony murder, unless it amounts to "robbery," and now I can't find the statutory definition of robbery in VA.

Another question is whether petty larceny is a "lesser include offense," of grand larceny? I.e., if the jury concludes the computer was not worth $200, does that Commonwealth lose entirely on that, or can the jury find petty larceny and add an other 6 mo. to 1 year to the sentence? (Obviously, misdemeanor theft can't give rise to "Felony" Murder.)

Thanks in advance!

An Observer, this is what I found (but it could be dated, but I don't think anything has changed):

18.2-89. Burglary; how punished.

If any person break and enter the dwelling house of another in the night time with intent to commit a felony or any larceny therein, he shall be guilty of burglary, punishable as a Class 3 felony; provided, however, that if such person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

(Code 1950, 18.1-86; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.)

Common law defines larceny or theft as a taking, not from the person, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item. Virginia Code §§18.2-95 to 18.2-96 define whether the act will qualify as grand larceny or petit larceny. Among several other criteria, the main distinction between the two is the value of the item taken. Larceny of an item with a value of $200 or more is considered grand larceny in Virginia while a value of less than $200 is considered petit larceny. Grand larceny also includes theft from the person of money or thing with a value of $5 or more or larceny of a firearm not from the person. Petit larceny includes theft from the person of money or thing with a value of less than $5. Another significant distinction between grand larceny and petit larceny lies in the level of punishment. Grand larceny is an unclassified felony with a specific punishment assigned by the code section of not less than one year in prison but not more than twenty or in the discretion of a jury or judge trying the case, a jail sentence of not more than 12 months and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500. Petit larceny is a class 1 misdemeanor offense.

Of course, the Jury must come up with the verdict based upon their unbias rendering of the facts presented and GH5's intent. Did he intend on going to her place and killling her? Did he intend on going there to steal her laptop? Was the laptop an after thought? (Either to have her contact him later or to destroy evidence? There was remember evidence provided to the Jury we don't know of. (Most specifically the note they found in Love's desk drawer from GH5.)

At most this would give 12 more months to his sentence.

If I were George, and I don't care whose side your on, I'd request new counsel. Quagliana is obviously an incompetent lawyer based on those emails alone and her illness. Her illness is excusable, it happens, but did she send those emails while ill? THis whole trial has become messy and irresponsible. Justice must be served, but does sentencing Huguely to life change anything, it's not like he attacked Love randomly a la Manson. No, he was in a drunken phase of hatred mixed with passion, where there is hate towards a former lover there is still passion. What are the parameters of this being a crime of passion, despite evidence?

Robbery is prohibited at Va. Code § 18.2-58:

"If any person commit robbery by partial strangulation, or suffocation, or by striking or beating, or by other violence to the person, or by assault or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm, or by the threat or presenting of firearms, or other deadly weapon or instrumentality whatsoever, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in a state correctional facility for life or any term not less than five years."

Robbery is basically the commission of larceny by assault.

For felony murder (in the first degree), the Commonwealth must prove specific serious felonies. Robbery, arson and abduction come to mind. Burglary is not one of these. These felonies can also be predicates for capital murder in the right circumstances. Felony murder during the commission of robbery is the Commonwealth's only realistic hope of convicting of first degree murder. However, the Commonwealth's weakest arguent is that Huguely went there with the intent to rob her of her computer. Likewise, it doesn't seem like Huguely specifically intended to kill her independent of the intoxication defense to the pre-meditation element. If the Commonwealth didn't prove this or the robbery, it can't be first degree murder.

Nevertheless, other felonies like burglary can be second degree murder on a felony-murder theory. Here, the burglary with intent to committ felonious assault would justify this verdict. Likewise, since felonious assault requires the intent to maim, disable, disfigure or kill, this would be the felonious object of the breaking and entering that could elevate the burglary to a felony second degree murder. Likewise, if he assaulted Ms. Love ony with the intent to disable (something that I hope the Commonwealth brought out repeatedly to the jury), this could still be second degree murder because she died as a result even if, after she was rendered helpless, other inernal physical changes contributed to her death.

@Edgar Summer - I thought the same...Chapman totally gave them (jury) an out when he stated that the reason for taking the laptop was to prevent communication with the UNC fellas...indicates that GH thought she was alive and would have further contact with other men....

Murder 2 is the appropriate conviction be he will get manslaughter. This is because having an educated jury pool almost always means a lighter sentence. Had this case been tried in Lynchburg, Virginia, a christian right backwater, the jury ironically, would have done the right thing and ruled for Murder 1. It's one of those sad situations where actually being better educated produces the wrong verdict.

@Cville Native - Did he intend on going there to steal her laptop?

I read elsewhere that "police confiscated two white Apple laptop computers" from Huguely's apartment. So, seriously, no one who owns an Apple laptop computer would wander off to steal a Dell laptop. Just sayin'!

Thanks all --

Sure would be instructive to see the jury instructions in this case!

FWIW, under 18.2-32, reprinted below (thanks, Cville Native), burglary can form the basis for Felony Murder 1, but I think the challenge for the Commonwealth is the "intent" requirement for burglary mentioned in my prior comment. E.g., they have to prove he entered with the intent to rob, assault or some other felony. That is why, I think, the CA kept harping on the door -- trying to get the jury to infer intent to physically harm because he kicked in the door. To me, based on the evidence available to the general public, I have doubts about the kicking in the door equalling intent to assault.

But it is up to the jury now.

18.2-32. First and second degree murder defined; punishment.

Murder, other than capital murder, by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment,starving, or by any willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or in thecommission of, or attempt to commit, arson, rape, forcible sodomy, inanimateor animate object sexual penetration, robbery, burglary or abduction, exceptas provided in 18.2-31, is murder of the first degree, punishable as aClass 2 felony.

All murder other than capital murder and murder in the first degree is murderof the second degree and is punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than five nor more than forty years.

(Code 1950, 18.1-21; 1960, c. 358; 1962, c. 42; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1976, c.503; 1977, cc. 478, 492; 1981, c. 397; 1993, cc. 463, 490; 1998, c. 281.)

Thanks Mr. Heilberg- your knowledge and insight are very valuable to all of the wannabees out here.........

I agree that it would have been nice to know what the judge's instructions to the jury were. That would help us make more educated guesses on his conviction and sentence.

For some reason, this piece of the trial is not being reported anywhere.

I can only imagine what Marta Lisette Sanson Huguely Murphy is feeling right now. I think it is somewhat cruel that we will not hear the verdict until Wednesday.

Would his notoriety influence which prison he is sent? Is there a particularily unsavory prison (I have heard of the red onion) which he would not want to be? Would he be in protective custody because of his perceived wealth? Does he currently get to meet with his family? Are they allowed to hug?

This forum is as good a place as any to bring this to light!
The media keeps reporting that Whitney Houston died at 48. She was born in August 1963. This means that she would have been 49. Just saying.

Show some compassion for the jurors. It's in their hands and the postponement was their idea. Georgie has been locked up for two years and will be for, at the very least, 8 more.

Besides, the mother of the killer is NOT the person to be consoling; her child is still alive.

Mr. Heilberg, I'm curious as to your thoughts on the 3 day delay between closing arguments and the beginning of jury deliberations.

I understand the reason for the delay of course, but I've been trying to decide which side I think it might benefit most. I would imagine that the prosecution can't be too thrilled about there being so much time between Mr. Chapman's powerful and emotional closing argument (by all accounts I've read) and the beginning of deliberations. But, I guess it could go both ways, and the defense may not like it either.

Obviously, it's up to the jurors to avoid news and publicity during the trial. I can't imagine that's particularly easy, and I'm curious if you think this delay could help any appeals that may arise in the future.

I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not sure how common these delays might be. But I'm curious as to whether or not you find it problematic? Thanks for any insight you are willing to provide.

@tell me more, probably not Red Onion - and DOC puts very little out there about that facility it is where the worst of the worst are sent. Though GH5 killed someone, yet to determined to what degree, he is not a serial killer, rapist/murderer, multiple murder. Actually, if and when he gets to DOC, he would be in GP then, no publicity will be out there or less.

Mr. Heilberg is very correct, you don't want your case (if you are a defendant or an attorney) to get publicity. It isn't a good thing, then the attorneys, courts and all involve must manage that can of worms (sorry Hook).

From my understanding closing arguments were done yesterday, Jury will be back on Wednesday - that may be when they get complete instructions. I think I read they will dismiss one or or two of the jurors then too? I think their instructions over this break were probably to not watch the news or participate in any discussion over the case at all.

@ "compassion": Perhaps you should use the name "clueless" in view of your concern for Georgie Boy's mother. That mother is partly responsible for the son she produced, i.e. his morals or lack thereof. Perhaps if she or Georgie's alcoholic father had dealt with any of their son's disgusting behavior all those years, Yeardley would be alive today. Your concern should be for Ms Love's family, not for Georgie's irresponsible parents.

Cville -- I understood the jury was instructed yesterday. Interestingly, that occurred before the closings, which is different than the practice in courts I have been in -- although the instructions have to be decided on before closing so the lawyers know what to argue to the jury.,

I don't know if the Charlottesville Circuit Court's practice is to give the jury a copy of the instructions. If not, maybe they will re-read them on Wednesday. say murder 2 is the appropriate charge, but "the right thing" would have been for a backwater jury to give him murder 1? 'Splain, Lucy.

tell me more, she died at 48. Had she lived until her August birthday, she would have reached 49. So...isn't the media correct?

Ok, what in the hell does Whitney Houston have anything to do with this? Unless, of course, we're comparing wasteful attitudes (e.g. Huguely vs. Houston). *yawn* Pop stars die of overdoses, that's what they do.

I don't mind trying to answer good questions, Kate. It's anybody's guess who benefits or gets hurt by this delay. The only thing predictable about any jury is its unpredictability. I would say the same about both delay and, ultimately, the length of their actual deliverations.

I've never once hired a jury selection expert because, after watching demonstrations, I'm not sure that their predictions are any more accurate than throwing darts. After 33 years, I've developed a few proprietary techniques to selecting juries that, in recent years (along with experience), have definitely improved my results with juries.

The most important factor in terms of the role of attorneys is to be trustworthy. The prosecution and police, because of their perceived roles, basically have a head start on criminal defense attorneys who are frequently stereotyped along with used car salesman and really bear a heavy burden to prove their credibility even if the Commonwealth theoretically bears the ultimate burden of proof. My answer to that predictable cocktail party question (how can you defend those people?) usually surprises people. If I am too good (or moral) to provide the quality defense that our system mandates for the worst among us, then who is left to defend the toughest cases? Criminal defense attorneys need to be the most honorable lawyers among all practitioners because the system can only work if everyone seeks truth and fairness in this process.

You must present yourself honestly to juries because they will see through disingenuousness or falsity by attorneys on either side. I prefer smart people on my juries because I mainly try to appeal to their reason and logic. I liked the looks of this jury. Intelligence is not better for either the prosecution or defense. It's simply better for jurisprudence. I always want the kind of jury that was apparently picked here.

If I don't have a case that appeals to common sense or that I have difficulty believing myself, I will try to convince a client to compromise. In a serious high stakes case like this, there might never have been such negotiations, so settlement simply wasn't posssible. In that situation, the Defendant has little to lose at trial. If, on the other hand, Mr. Huguely refused a reasonable offer and ends up with a worse outcome with the jury, he will have gambled and lost or, with a more favorable verdict, he will have gambled and won.

All of that being said, I've always believed my closing arguments were more persuasive than they ever really were. Credibility is paramount in my opinion. In opening, only predict what will come true. During trial, paint the picture that you promised. In closing, tie everything together so that what you argue is completely consistent with the case that preceded it.

Whichever side better adhered to these standards and demonstrated their case was more believable than the adversary's will likely prevail independent of or in despite of this unusual delay.

@Restore the Republic - Truly I don't think he intended on taking the laptop until after the deed was done and he didn't think of value - he disposed of it in the dumpster.

On a sidenote, being a PC (we have much more memory and other for the $) than those who get Macs. Also, I have personally have no respect for companies that prosper and do not give back. Apple stopped all their programs. MS still does amazing things out there.

@Takes all kinds -- Both "responsible" and "irresponsible" parents produce children who engage in criminal behavior. To say that the mother of an 24-year-old adult male is partly to blame for his criminal behavior is quite a sweeping judgment. You must know the mother personally and the circumstances well to be able to judge her that way. I imagine the pain, suffering, and shame that such a mother feels is terrible. Although losing your child to prison is not by any means comparable to losing your child's life, it is nevertheless terrible. Please don't judge so harshly unless you really know the person involved. Peace.

@tell me more, Red Onion is where inmates who at other DOC facilities who are unruly are sent to. In other words, misbehave consistantly - they go to Red Onion. There GP is locked down 20 hours of every day.

@An Observer - I saw a report from another source that stated 1 or 2 of the jurors would be dismissed leaving the remainder with instructions, though, I am not sure here. I think that report was on the WVIR TV news. The instructions may be redone on Wednesday too just to remind them of the instructions.

Years ago, as a student, my class was selected to sit on various juries at the JAG school. The trials were mock, presided over by active federal judges and the law students all had identical case material. The juries were a cross section of the community, not just students, and it was either 7 or 9 simultaneous trials, I forget. The case was a traffic accident and what I have never forgotten was the outcome of the various trials: both for and against with differing dollars values awarded. I learned first hand at a young age that Mr. Heilberg's statement that the 'only thing predictable about any jury is its unpredictability' is a sobering fact.

I do not presume to predict the upcoming deliberations, but I neither believe George will walk after the verdict nor get the max.

"Criminal defense attorneys need to be the most honorable lawyers among all practitioners because the system can only work if everyone seeks truth and fairness in this process."

Now THAT is funny! Just like bill clinton and the definition of the word "is" it depends on what your defintion of the word "works" means.

If "truth and fairness" means convincing the jury that the problem with this case is that Yeardley pissed him off and then couldn't take a punch so its not his fault then I understand.......

Money talks and guilty people walk.

Courtrooms in america might be about a lot of things, truth and fairness are way down on the list.

(this is not personal, just a difference of opinion from a different perspective)

Would not want to be either of the parents right now. Although, had the roles been reversed and Love killed Huguely with her purse we would be toting how a drunken drug addicted lacrosse player killed a wonderful young man. It is how we spin. Its not really my buzz to be putting down the parents but if we were going to have to line one up at the execution it would be GIV.

Edgar -- and others bashing criminal defense attorneys:

This is in no way a comment on the CA's office in C'ville, as other than this case, I have not studied the operation of that office -- but do you know how many unscrupulous DA's there are out there?? WAY too many! And, even one is too many given the extraordinary authority given prosecutors in this country. Does the name Mike Nifong mean anything to you? How about the DA in Dallas who, over several years systematically railroaded defendants to death row. This is the tip of the ice berg out there.

I am in no way a bleeding heart liberal, but if you value liberty for you and your family, you might want to get to know a few defense attorneys. There are good and bad in all populations, so rely on stereotypes at your peril.

Deleted by moderator.

Al- It is not a question of ethics.

As you know, defense attorneys are only looking for a way to introduce reasonable doubt into the equation, which is what the jury considers in the end- even when the jury knows the defendent commited the crime. The introduction of reasonable doubt is what saves the defendents "life".

That is why they search far and wide for an "expert" to state what they need stated to introduce reasonable doubt. They would never find a local "expert" to state those things as the expert would be ridiculed and chastised regardless of the outcome.

@Edgar Summer - I do agree with your point of view that if you have the money you can walk or get a lesser sentence than one who doesn't have those means in our criminal justice system. Truly we have seen it out there over and over again but please refrain from the politics here because they have no bearing on it all. I can site where there have been issues with both polticial parties when it comes to criminal justice out there.

In defense of Mr. Heilberg (but I am positive he can defend himself very well here), it is very true that there are attorneys out there who love the law, work to defend clients and that is truly what they must do to protect their rights in the system. We shouldn't expect it any other way. (I personally couldn't do it but I do see why it must be done and how someone would have to be so objective and truly believe in the system, though I do think it eats many of the good lawyers up.)

Many of us do not know or understand our rights as citizens when it comes to law and law enforcement. This case would be completely different had Huguely not waived his rights and been interviewed by the police. If he had known his rights he would have immediately requested an attorney to be present. Personally, not because I think all police or others out there not ethical but because I know how the system works, if I was to be interviewed, I would ask for council. If police came to my door with to search my home with a warrant, I would request council to be there immediately. I would not say a word. This said, there is nothing in my home to cause me to be arrested BUT I would still request council.

I truly believe one thing parents should teach their children is their rights if ever detained by law enforcement. I recall in school here, Scott Goodwin came and told us our rights and juveniles and what we could say and not to say. People do take advantage of those who do not know their rights. And how many cases out there with the new DNA testing are being overturned now?

Just know your rights and teach your children and loved ones their rights too.

Wish that YL knew she had the right to report GH5 because the choking incident was or could have been "attempted murder". No one has mentioned this on these comment threads.

YL certainly knew she could have gotten a restraining order -- her mother encouraged her to get one, in fact, but she didn't want to for whatever reason. She probably wasn't scared of him -- heck, she must not have been since she felt free to burst into his apartment and beat on him with her purse. She wouldn't have done that if she had been fearful.

Dr. Heilberg: Why didn't the defense consider temporary insanity or some similar plea?

I am sure YL knew she could have called the cops on GH after the choking incident. But she didn't, as Miss Information says above. I'm sure she calmed down after the incident, and it sounds like he was apologetic given that letter that's been discussed. (I know that's typical abuser behavior - to be sorry afterwards). I think more likely than not, she thought it would mess things up within her world if she got a restraining order or pressed charges against him. They obviously socialized together and within the same crowd.

I'm curious about when they actually broke up last...the purse incident was roughly a week before her death, and I assume they were together (or at least somewhat together) at that point. Maybe not though...I've been in a dramatic college relationship and sometimes it's a lot more complicated than "we're together" or "we're not."

sad, sad, sad.

i uderstand YLs father passed away while she was in HS. any idea what he did? they seem to be well off, and the death of a bread winner at that point in life can be very damaging to a family's $$$$.

great question, Duke of Wellington. I thought the same thing myself. Would he have been better off saying he blacked out.

chouva - I have read that Yeardley's father was an "investor". He died in 2003 or 2004, from cancer (I believe I remember reading prostate?)

YL couldn't have obtained a restraining order then on GH5 - they were not living together, family members or married. The law has changed now but then, she couldn't have done so. Because of this case it now can be done, but then she couldn't have done so. Had she called the law then, they would have wrote it off (especially UVA Police) as just an incident of drunk college students.

@Cville Native - that's interesting about the restraining order law, I didn't know that.

These incidents happened off campus though, so they would be subject to Charlottesville Police. Although I agree with you that it would most likely have been written off, I guess she could have pressed charges if she wanted since there were witnesses. Obviously a moot point now. And if I were in her situation, I wouldn't have bothered with it either.

presidents day: After reconsidering my question, I'm guessing that a plea of temporary insanity would be difficult to prove especially considering the amount of alcohol he allegedly consumed coupled with his past experiences of abuse and it debilitating into rage.

Good question Duke . A case could be made that he was in a dossociative psychotic uncontrolled raging state fuled by substance . That seems to be the reality of the situation . The family and defense team may have felt the jury would go for that or at least part of the jury leaving GWH 5 in rehab limbo forever . Given his youth they are likely decided to just face it head on as a straight forward crimnal case that could get whittled down at this trial or on appeal to manslaughter with a low scale sentence due to mitigating reasons .

I’d like to add to what Dave has said re the defense lawyers here and point out that defense lawyers (prosecutors as well) frequently must make important decisions on the fly because they never know exactly how things will go, what unexpected testimony they'll get, what objections will be made, or what ruling may come -- all of which sometimes comes out of left field. Some days they field it all better than others. As for the sharing of witness testimony, yes, troubling -- but especially if counsel were very sick, stressed, not thinking well, it becomes a bit easier to understand. To correct it as best they could, they should reveal this violation to the other side at the next opportunity and I’m guessing that’s what they did here because how else did Dave Chapman even learn of the emails? If so, then they did the honorable thing after a stupid mistake. Either way, I commend Fran for falling on his sword by arguing to separate lawyer mis-steps from the fairness due his client because whatever Huguely is guilty of, he is due a fair day in court.


I reached exactly the same likely conclusion about how the Commonwealth found out about this defense mistake. We all are imperfect but I never had doubts about Rhonda's and Fran's integrity.

Frank: I think one could attribute multiple combinations of psychobabble from the DSM-IV (or whatever the current volume it is). My problem with this entire case is while there is substantial evidence for motive, do we actually know if Yeardley was still seeing, or seeing for that matter, someone else either at UVA, UNC, or otherwise? Second, while George has a history of drunken altercations with the law and temper issues, what was his temper like when he was sober? How come no one asked those questions to his cohorts when they took the stand?

I also recall when this story first broke two years ago that local news channels had gotten a hold of Huguely's neighbors in Chevy Chase and former Landon classmates. It was a somewhat mixed bag of commentary. His neighbors praised him a "great guy," "fun to be around," "personable." Others said he was a "good guy," "team player," and then others, like at Landon, said he was a "bully." Who is George Huguely V really? We've heard all the angelic praises about Yeardley's personality, but what was Huguely like -- aside from the now accepted view that he is a drunk and disorderly hooligan?

There is a fine line with that "off campus/grounds" around UVA - 14th Street if it was serious, such as murder/death of course C'ville Police will respond. They have the resources. For an assult, more than likely UVA Police will respond. Now UVA and Charlottesville both work hand in hand around UVA too.

And not long ago, if a wife were to call about her husband who beat her, the police would come - no matter what they saw, and walk away. This and protective and restraining orders are only a piece of paper to some.

There are couples (much like this pattern with GH5 and Love) who would be in court and be told to stay away from one another and they would leave in the same vehicle. Not saying it is like that in this case, but there are couples that this is part of their relationship. Sad.

Duke --- Doesn't pshchobabble really explain who George actually is and how he was interacting with the Police Lady and Y L . The pshchobabble with added overload of booze and perhaps chemicals . Why didn't the defense put forward the reality of GWH 5 with lengthy shrink testamony in an effort to get below the murder charge ? By not doing so and trying to insult the jury's intelligence with regard to the falling theory , YL hitting her own head on the wall , or the crib death syndrome idea they rolled the dice big time . The guy was a nut case with a short fuse ready to explode at any time . That lay assesment was made by various peers and superiors .It seems the family wants him labelled a garden variety murderer as opposed to an untreated mentally ill person .

Frank: Who knows what is going on in the family's mind in the Huguely Camp. Clearly, his father or someone should have intervened when he got busted down in Lexington and had to be subdued by a stun gun.

@Miss Information, I'm not sure it's accurate to infer that Love was unafraid of GHV when she waltzed into his place and gave him a purse whack. Reportedly she arrived because she heard there were chicks at his place. Their presence would likely have both emboldened her, and made her feel like any altercation wouldn't escalate too terribly much.

Then we have to ask why she cared enough to go give him what for? My intuitive (wholly conjectured) belief is that he had made these promises, like in the drawer note, of being a better boyfriend, stopping cheating (w/ the sorority sister), getting off the booze, ratcheting down the outbursts etc., and yet then she hears he's got company. Given how often people on here have pointed to the volatility in their relationship it is probable that she tended to believe his teary-eyed pleas for understanding, for reconciliation, for it "never happening again." Then when she heard he had young thang company, she went to call him out for what she believed was his betrayal of that.

None of this means she didn't fear him. My bet is that when she was nearly choked to death and called out for her life she feared him just fine. And when he busted through her door intent on giving her the beating of her life, and she was backed against a corner telling him to go it was a moment of pure, unmitigated terror. As the beating started, the pummeling by an enraged guy twice her size, I'm sure she had more than enough fear to satisfy even you.

Too bad then that a locked door, which may have been her most significant indication of middle-of-the-night fear, wasn't enough to hold back Huguely's intimidation and murderous rampage.

Kate: Where was Christian Slater's character from "Heather's" when you needed him or John Bender from 'The Breakfast Club?" Jock culture will always be about date rapes and AIDS jokes, sad, but true. However, this doesn't excuse in any way Huguely's actions

@Kate, I don't think she feared him. I think she feared what he was capable of when drunk or angry, does this make sense? I think YL thought if she kept him at bay for 20 days - she and he would both move on and everything was behind them.

Her going over to his place and doing what she did, shows she had no fear of him. So, in a way this would negate a restraining order.

At that age, we all think we are invincible and bad things, they happen to others, not us. And many young people caught up in relationships that are "drama filled" like this either like it or feul it. Youth! You get older and wiser - or some of us do.

Now, when she saw him that night - I am sure she was afraid, sacred and upset - as GH5 described her - as "defensive" - of course she was. I don't care if he intended to kill her or not the fact is he did. I know the jury has to speculate on the intent and we are here. I think it should be taken out of the law and punishment.

If I drive a car and cause a wreck and someone is killed, that is not intentional, I didn't intend on killing someone but I may be charged with Involuntary Manslaughter. If I break down a door, beat someone up and leave them for dead or beaten badly - intent is out the window there - he should have known at 209 pounds vs her 117 pounds he could kill her.

why hasnt GH worn a tie? Is he not allowed something that could be used as a ligature, like a tie or a belt? Or is it to keep him from looking like Richy Rich?

Eliz: he wears a tie in court only. For obvious restraint reasons.

Cville: I agree with you 100%. Abusive relationships have so many levels and sub-levels, mental and physical. Jealousy is a natural trait when intimacy is involved and it needs to be controlled, but how? I know of no Prozac that controls jealous rage. Passion is something that can't be cured.

I was just discussing with a friend today that we are older, but the wiser part? We mentioned how much more we knew back in our youth. It's as Bob Dylan sings in My Back Pages,

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

What better way to get free advertising than to make this forum your home. Frankly I find it sleazy but we all know what Shakespeare thought of lawyers.

I hope this case ends as soon as possible. I'm sick of it leading every news stories.

But not sick of it enough to stop paying attention it...:(

Kate George, I don't think we can say he went there to give her "the beating of her life" --it doesn't sound like she was bruised or battered like you would expect from a true battering. (Think Rhianna and Chris Brown.) And since she obviously wasn't afraid of retaliation for the purse beating incident, much less having it escalate at the apt.,I think we can conclude she didn't exactly live in fear of him as you've imagined. Also, don't forget YL was running around on him, too (re: your he's-a-scumbag-who-probably-promised-not-to-cheat-on-poor-naive-YL mischaracterization).

And cville native, I don't think you really want intent taken out of the equation,do you? It would be unfair to apply the same punishment for accidents as for malicious acts. You're probably feeling badly that this case sounds like manslaughter.

Re: the restraining order -- whether or not she could have gotten one, I've never seen it reported that she tried to get one, but couldn't; just that her mom and sis suggested she should get one, and she didn't want to. Again, I think it shows she was not living in abject fear of him. Same with the story of them chatting amicably when his aunt sees them a week prior.

Miss Information - if you murder someone with your bare hands, a gun or a knife - unless it is self defense, the other had a gun, knife or was beating you - you have murdered them. Self-defense is something more easily proven or disproven in law. Intent, how the heck do we know what people are thinking? We would have less people murdered if intent was taken out. "I didn't intend to shoot him in the head." ? "I didn't intend on beating her to death." WTH? The point is they did!

Now if I am involved in some sort of accident, where I was or even wasn't truly at fault and the result is someone dies - that wasn't intentional. Then there is intent.

Do I think he should get manslaughter, no - I only think he might because juries don't see it my way and there is no justice in the Justice System as it is now.

I would get more for dealing drugs. Also, I have someone on my list of people I would love to see dead, this person is diplorable in all ways. Had I killed them 20 years ago, I would be out of jail. But had I 20 years ago been some Drug Kingpin - I would still be in jail? Even those in law see the injustice in the law.

Murder to me is murder, there is no justification (except self-defense). "I didn't mean to" thing just is what is feeding our society that blames all else for their problems. I'm sure GH5 and his family - blame the victim here - there are many here who are doing so! "If she got a restraining order, If she locked the front door, If she got help..." Why, she didn't do anything wrong. She was asleep, he broke down her door and beat her to death. The beating caused her death. If he didn't think his 209 pounds vs her 117 pounds could kill her, he is an idiot. And anyone who believes well, he didn't know and he didn't intend - how do we know what the intention was? We don't. I doubt he does!

Miss Information: Who are Rhianna and Chris Brown? (Sorry, I don't get cable television)

Cville: I don't see how "what if" arguments are relevant, what's past is past. (Not saying that you are presenting "what ifs")

How did the Judge learn of the emails that RQ had been giving trial testimony of other witnesses to her witness. Did Lawrence bring it forward once he discovered it, or did the prosecution discover them. What were the dates of the email(s) were sent. If they were sent on Friday the day the trial was put off because of sickness but RQ's at home updating an expert witness by email (I doubt it is this)

Sam - I don't think anyone knows how they learned of the e-mails. I read that people were speculating that RQ/Lawrence turned themselves in once they realized the mistake.

I believe the e-mail was sent on 2/14.

The defense almost certainly self reported, given the way the issue came up on Saturday. I think some reports said there were two emails -- one on 2/10 and one on 2/14.

My bet is that in prepping the witness Friday night or Saturday AM about the likely avenues of cross, they realized that yes, in fact, he had been shown some information from the prosecutions's witness. So they let Chapman know of their mistake.

How'd that happen -- brain cramp, I'd guess. I believe Lawrence and Quagliana also handle civil litigation. There, experts are routinely given information from the other side.

In a civil trial you do not give trial testimony (of the ongoing trial you are in) to an expert that has yet to testify in the same trial. Otherwise which ever side that goes first in any trial is at quite a disadvantage

Cville Native, who's to even say what sentence makes sense? I assume people are hoping for lots and lots of years for Georgie to punish him good and hard, and secondarily (most people will say this is the real reason, but in truth they wish him to suffer-- or at least stay there long enough to regret his actions) to keep him from doing it again.

In Canada -- which I think has a more humane system -- not only would you have been out of jail after murdering your deplorable person 20 years ago, but if you then stayed on the straight and narrow -- (did not re-offend after xx years) -- your record would be expunged. That is, you would no longer suffer under the crippling weight of being a felon...or murderer. Now THAT is enlightened thinking, and gives people -- even those who have fallen off the path of righteousness -- hope for the future and a reason to redeem themselves. We're all such mean spirited puritans here in the lower 48, we want our criminals to suffer and be marked for life. It's funny, really, the way people think about justice.

Will GH5 learn a lesson in 10 years? In 20? Never? Or has he already? (Is prison even supposed to teach you a lesson? Or just keep you off the streets? Or is it merely to punish you by taking your freedom?) These are all things to ponder.

Cville Native, I suspect you don't really live in such a black and white world where rights and wrongs are so easy and apparent. There are a lot more shades of gray in the world, and you can be thankful that the justice system, such as it is, tries to accommodate some of the nuances. Granted, the 3 strikes drug laws are out of control, and probably have to do more with filling our privatized prisons than they do public safety, but that's a conspiracy theory for another time.

MI - well, I don't agree about the way they deal with murder in Canada at all then, if it's as you say. IMO if you cross that line where you murder someone and you are convicted by a jury of such an offense... well, that's rather important information to keep on hand about someone - the record should not be expunged. And you should not retain all your rights: because you took a LIFE! There is a certain gravity to that situation.

waiting and waiting... Well, it turns out they DON'T in fact pardon murderers or dangerous criminals. Those people are on lifetime parole. Ah, well. So much for redemption and a clean slate.

Sam -- in a civil trial both sides know exactly what the other side's experts are going to say -- at least in the types of complex cases I am familiar with. That said, in many jurisdictions "the rule on witnesses" does not apply to experts.

Miss information - get a clue? The poor girl was beaten to a pulp like a rag dog by a 200 lb plus varsity athlete? Have u seen the pictures or read one bit of testimony? Please do so and stop typing here. Why in God's name would any of us feel sorry for George's mother, Marta? Let's not forget that Yeardley, her mom and sister are the victims. Don't write back,. You r clueless and useless, so you are a joke not to be taken seriously at all. Crawl back under your rock.

Ellie: Have YOU seen the pictures?

If Ellie has, she is either on the jury, a court employee, a member of the prosecution team or a member of the Love family . . . .

Since Rhona Q is all run down and sick and everything. I volunteer to give her some therapy.

Canada's also big on reciprocity. Most times you have to do something to repay your victim, or their family. OK, once again not sure if this pertains to murder, but it's another good policy.

Ummm...maybe not reciprocity, but restitution. (Must be the hurricanes talking. Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!)

Observer: if Miss Ellie, is a member of the jury, then she shouldn't be on such sites per orders of the judge. The same rule applies if she is a court employee or a member of the prosecution team. I'm not ruling out that she's perhaps a member of the Love family, but I doubt it. Finally, her response to Miss Information was rather heated though, don't you think?

Duke -- that was my point. As you pointed out, she most likely has no more info that we have, but she does act as if she has a dog in this fight.

Observer: Yes, probably a friend or "observer" like us but no need for rudeness. Constructive criticism? Yes. Rudeness? No.

Thanks, all.

Ellie, I've not seen the photos, so have to rely on the medical examiner's description of "abrasions" on her cheek and bruises to her chin and lip, albeit there was 'severe' bruising under her chin. Perhaps the interpretation of "beaten to a pulp" is different under my rock than under yours.

Lloyd Snook has a good blog about this very issue - how the injuries have been characterized so differently and the photos haven't been made public:

Ellie: "Miss information - get a clue? The poor girl was beaten to a pulp like a rag dog by a 200 lb plus varsity athlete? Have u seen the pictures or read one bit of testimony? Please do so and stop typing here. Why in God's name would any of us feel sorry for George's mother, Marta? Let's not forget that Yeardley, her mom and sister are the victims. Don't write back,. You r clueless and useless, so you are a joke not to be taken seriously at all. Crawl back under your rock"
Ugh! No one has seen the pictures and if you have you need to keep your trap shut. I feel sorry for all parties involved. If my friends son did something like this I would never turn my back on my friend. But, I guess you would Ellie. As for anyone not to be taking seriously its you. Ding bat.

MI I have not seen pictures, but have ears which i suppose based on your comments you lack. Read the various twitter comments from the trial days and if you close ur eyes and listen with ur ears you can see how yes, MI, she was in fact beaten to a pulp in this world, your world or anyone's world? Btw, she couldn't get a restraining order, so again you stand corrected.
And as for a dog in the girl deserves this and I guess I stand up for any young woman or child who has been put through this torture....

Ellie: Are you one of these people who will, or do own, a 'spirituality' shop that sells bumper stickers that have such humorous, yet mundane, slogans such as "My Other Car is a Broom?" Do you aspire to grow your long grey hair and call yourself "Willow?' Not that it matters, but for the love of God don't say things or accuse people for insincerities you can't back up with truth or proof. Yes, YL died prematurely and it was horrid. Yes, GHV did it. Why?

Well, it's pretty obvious why: he was angry, rejected, and wanted to get laid.

You, and everyone else interested or associated with this case needs to ask what are the five "W's": What, Who, Where, When, and Why.

These are the questions that have not been sufficiently answered in my opinion or IMO

Too bad for I did it, having to live with Christian guilt and shame for the rest of her life. Gots to be a life of drudgery and never measuring up to the boogy man. Don't ya just love the Souf.

Duke -- which part of what, who,where,when and why don't you think has been answered?

For a supposed questioning mind, you certainty do otherwise tend to make assumptions and describe in generalities - the whole broom, gray hair thing. So wonder why you profess to be questioning only here.

Miss Information - when it comes to taking live and the value of life - yes, I am that black and white. Perhaps it comes from watching my own child take their last breath in my arms? I donno. But I value life. To me it isn't justified if you take a life you get only 20 years?

You misread what I wrote - for accidents, self-defense and in war - that is where I see that we can be colorful or give leway.

When it comes to someone (even in an un-controled rage) killing someone - it is murder, plain and simple. We have all sorts of "anger management" programs out there and people blaming their "tempers" - that is the problem with all of society - "It ain't me - it is my temper." "She had it coming!" "They shouldn't have made me..." We allow people to displace their responsiblity.

If the laws were changed for murder - I know there would be less of it. Take Saudi Arabia - kill - you're killed. Steal - you loose your hand and the hand you use to eat with not wipe with. Now, there justice system is a bit harsh BUT it would do the US good if we stepped up the harshness of many of our punishments.

Intent - how the he-- do we know what someone intends? Unless it is murder for hire, or you find their plans - we all just sit here and "speculate". Why should we. Murder is murder. And yes, I am that black and white about life and death. Because you either live or you die.

Cville Native --

I have to disagree with you for a two reasons:

* There is always a chance that the justice system convicts the wrong person; better that an wrongly convicted person receive a 20 year sentence than that we put innocent people to death. It was not that long ago that 7 men from Norfolk were accused of murder, and 4 of them were imprisoned, and later that actually perpetrator was caught (who had escaped from prison, where he was serving a sentence for a similar murder).

* It may not be clear whether or not a person killed in self defense. If it came down to choosing between dying and killing someone, I would kill someone to save my own life, and I think many people would agree with me on that point. Related to this is killing to defend someone else; if I thought someone would be killed if I did not act to save them, I would act to save them, even if that meant killing their attacker. As with self defense, however, defense of others is something that must be proved by the defense, and it may not be clear if someone acted to protect another person's life.

I also have to wonder if you are one of those people who supports capital punishment as long as you do not have to see a body flopping around or spurting blood. Do you really think you could witness a beheading, a hanging, death by stoning, etc. and walk away undisturbed? People like the idea of disposing of murderers, but I suspect that many of them would not like it so much if they were forced to watch the brutality of killing, which is why lethal injection is so popular in this country.

B - self defense of defense of another I agree with you there. As for the falsely accused - well, with DNA now that is pretty much not going to happen from this point forward.

I do support capital punishment in curtain cases. Not in all. Sometimes life in prison is far worse than capital punishment.

Long ago I was raised so no violence was allowed. I couldn't even handle seeing much of it on television. What desensitized me to it were the LA Riots - how could you not watch that as it unfolded. I lost my cookies watching it - it had that much of an impact on me personally. Now, I am desensitized to it. Movies I couldn't watch before - I can. I think we are being raised in a very violent world and society. It starts very young.

I could personally execute a few myself - child molestors etc. But I don't cross that line. The point is if you cross that line, and you are not defending yourself or someone else - your intent is to kill. I don't see how we or anyone else can determine non intent when someone crosses that line and kills someone or does something that causes their death.

Cville native, to me, capital punishment, and the harsh laws you espouse just reflect societal fear and an incredible lack of imagination as well as compassion. We can do better. We can certainly do better than our criminal element, so it seems counterproductive to retaliate in kind.

Re:dna, don't kid yourself; we are going to continue to see many people wrongfully ending up on death row -- for one thing, because dna doesn't factor into every case, but also, guess what? Some judges won't even overturn wrongful convictions because they feel that if the trials were fairly conducted, it's ok that the wrong person ended up in jail because no one did anything 'wrong.' That kind of stupidity alone means mistakes and injustice can and will still happen.