The charges: What Huguely's jury must decide

George Wesley Huguely V faces six charges in the death of Yeardley Love, including first-degree murder and its possible life sentence. The verdict will be determined after this issue of the Hook goes to press, but with the help of Hook legal expert David Heilberg, here's a rundown of the charges and what the jury will be deliberating February 22. The biggie:

1. First-degree murder. Willful, deliberate, and premeditated. Punishment is 20 years to life. If the jury doesn't believe Huguely had a specific intent to kill Love or balks on premeditation because of Huguely's intoxication, they could choose:
Second-degree murder. Not premeditated, but with malice and lack of concern for human life. Five years minimum, 40 years max.
Voluntary manslaughter. Not premeditated, absence of malice, intentional killing, could be in the heat of passion. Up to 10 years in prison.
Involuntary manslaughter: An unintended killing with a 10-year maximum sentence. This is the one defense attorney Fran Lawrence urged the jury to consider. If the defendant's conduct was so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, that's aggravated involuntary manslaughter and has a one-year minimum sentence, with up to 20 years.

2. Felony murder. Unintentional killing in the commission of another serious crime, like robbery, is equal to first-degree murder and its 20-years-to-life sentence. Heilberg believes this is prosecutor Dave Chapman's best bet for a first-degree murder conviction. "However, the Commonwealth's weakest argument is that Huguely went there with the intent to rob her of her computer," he says. If the death occurred as part of a burglary, the jury can convict Huguely of second-degree murder with up to 40 years in prison.

3. Robbery. Basically larceny with assault, according to Heilberg. Minimum sentence of five years up to life. Heilberg calls this the weakest charge, because Huguely didn't seem to go to Love's with the intent to steal her laptop.

4. Burglary. Break into a house at night with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. Kicking down Love's bedroom door constitutes a break-in. Sentence is 20 years max.

5. Grand larceny. Goods stolen are worth more than $200, hence the conflicting witnesses on the value of Yeardley Love's laptop. Up to 20 years. If the stolen item is under $200, that's misdemeanor petty larceny with up to one year in jail and/or $2,500 fine.

6. Statutory burglary: Enter a house with the intent to commit assault and battery or larceny. Up to 20 years.

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


Got to be 2nd Degree IMO.

Count 2 is the key ...

Now, I absolutely think he is guilty of statutory burglary. He went there to hurt and intimidate Love, not steal anything. She died as a result. So I wonder if that means first degree, as it would with straight burglary or robbery.

Are there any general rules of thumb for how a jury decides the recommended sentence within the rather large span of years associated with each charge? 5 years vs 40 years is a significant difference---are there any guidelines for the jury to consider, or does a recommendation emerge from their deliberations?

Reasonable doubt is the key...........and the defense may well have presented a good case that included nothing but reasonable doubt

@Seeking More Info - when it goes to a Jury, it is not predictable at all. Plus, we and the press didn't have access to all the evidence presented either.

Remember the Sisk case? - it was and still is an outrage. Remember the name Andrew Alston, he will be in the news again.

Given the complicated inter_relation of the charges it will be difficult for some of the jurers to grasp . A strong personality will be able to readily sway those in a fog . That can readily go either way in respect to the burglary issue which would trigger or void count 2 the felony murder charge. Thirty years difference in possible sentencing .

The only reasonable doubt that the defense introduced was their ability to argue a case. Man, if I had shelled out for these lawyers I'd be seeking some sort of refund.

Kate George- Their goal was most likely to get him off on Murder 1......and they may well have done a good job of that.......we shall see.

2nd degree guilty
Combined with felony murder guilty of burglary robbery hopefully time served consecutively and he doesn't see daylight until 65

If Mr. Huguely had kicked in the door of a male 'friend'; beat him; stole his laptop; all in a drunken rage, I suspect the legal system/attorneys/jury/judge would give him less wiggle room.

And, of course, if Mr. Huguely was brown-skinned and of modest means he'd probably already be on death row (if he hadn't been beaten to death in lockup).

Now, because the victim was a woman and there had been a romantic/sexual relationship, we are to somehow believe that relationship and 'emotions' and 'feelings' should somehow play a role in his intent???

I call B.S. You kick in someones door and then beat them and they die, there should be little to no consideration of your intent.

It has to be at least 2nd degree murder. And a full 40 years should be just about right.

@ Kate I was thinking the same thing! Wapo made Fran sound like a bumbling fool. (or was he cleverly stalling so that the jury would go into the 3 day break?)

With all these charges it just seems so wide open. Could he get murder 2 and the lesser burglary stacked on top of that?

As folks have said, a delay could go either way. It's lead me to ask myself whether I was fair in weighing GHVs statement to police against other evidence and theories introduced. In the end, his song and dance adds up less and less. Interestingly, intent can be formed in the final seconds. Evidence and post-crime actions help tell that story. I can see any of M1, M2 or felony murder...and 40 years is what I think he deserves.

Facts point to malice, and his ex is dead. I hope the jury remembers this. A sober, full 40 years in jail, plus time for stolen goods seems just--long enough for his hormones to run their course, so he doesn't drunkenly beat and kill anyone else. The defense blaming a sleeping victim who gets her door bashed for her own death in is beyond ludicrous.

I wasn't too impressed with that high priced defense. I thought they did him more harm than good. He could have been served just as well with public defender. I bet he gets at least 20 years, which for him will be a death sentence unto itself.

Kate - I agree about GH's statement to police. When he's lying before he "finds out" she's dead --- then we're supposed to believe that he suddenly shifts into "truth mode" when he's responding to the news that she's dead? It doesn't add up and I don't think it's helpful to him.
And amen to 40 years...that would be well deserved.

Doyle Hargrave- the defense did their job to introduce reasonable doubt at every turn, now lets see if the jury saw through that or bought it. That is what they did with Robert Chambers and O.J., and certainly many others- so don't be surprised.

the 4 yr old dell laptop is not worth $100. check on craiglist

The involuntary manslaughter statute that is hyperlinked applies only to killings while driving a motor vehicle under the influence

Breaking into someone's bedroom and fatally injuring them-the defense sure has a lot of nerve even putting involuntary manslaughter on the table. Even Barry Bowles' lawyers did not do that.
I hope the jury does not buy the defense arguments, but based on what happened in the Sisk murder case I fear they might. And who knows how the 3 day break may affect their memory and perception-its been a week since they heard the prosecution's case.
I don't think he broke in with the intent to steal, but when he saw what he had done, made a lame attempt to cover his tracks by taking the laptop, and gave the police an even lamer explanation as to why he took it.
First degree would be the appropriate decision.

2nd. 30 reduced to 15 years with time served. Out in 9.

It was voluntary manslaughter and he should get the maximun sentence and on the civil side they should take him to the cleaners. Judgments that would cover his entire productive life in any career.

It seems there are 4 choices.

So if Murder one is where someone kicks down the door and shoots, knifes or bludgens someone to death then his theft of the laptop to "prevent further communication" between her and another guy takes that off the table as there is reasonable doubt he didn't want to kill her, he simply wanted to beat the hell out of her.

If involuntary mandslaughter is hitting a pedestrian while looking down at your car radio then that should be off the table.

If voluntary manslaughter is killing somone while driving drunk then this crime is worse than that and should be off the table.

So we are left with Murder two.

The jury should come back in an hour with murder two, theft of the laptop and reccomend the maximum.

I'd hate that Yeardley's mother and sister would have to go through another trial. Both have been basically silent about the whole thing as far as I can tell. But from all accounts, Lexi has been glaring at George the whole time.

I'm just crossing my fingers the jury does right by Yeardley.

Lloyd Snook has an interesting flow chart on the charges and possible outcomes:

Truly 40 years for a life (as some have said here)? So, not fair but life isn't, is it?

"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world." - Paul Farmer

As for his defense, I believe they did the best with what they had to work with. Their client was interviewed by the police, waiving his rights and the results are what we heard. As for his attorney's illness - that bug has been running rampid around here. The email to the witnesses, well, I agree that working a case like this (and none of us here have the experience of doing so - well, I do but not a murder case a Federal Case where I was a Paralegal at that time) mistakes happen. Should they, no. But it didn't have any affect upon the testimony that witness provided and they were honest about their mistake bringing it to the attention of the Commonwealth and the court.

As for how much paid to the defense, legal fees over all are overtly inflated in this area.

Felony murder 1 is still murky. Both Mr. Heilburg and Mr. Snook contend the jury may not convict on Murder 1 felony murder if they convict him of burglary. However, burglary is specifically stated in the statute as an underlying offense that can trigger Murder 1. See VA Code sec. 18.2.32.

I first became concerned the CA was being overzealous in this prosecution when the felony murder charges were added, because the entire crux of this case is "what was the defendant's reason for going to Ms. Love's apartment that morning." To me, the facts of this case -- no weapon, no real evidence he went there to steal any thing or to commit arson, etc. -- made it unjust to try and skirt the real issue with the FM charge. That is when the CA showed his hand IMO as wanting to win at any cost -- justice be damned. Just because a statute is on the books doesn't mean you charge it when the facts don't support it. THe CA's job is justice, not just a conviction. I understand most of you don't agree with my definition of justice -- but justice and vengeance are different. In the subsequent books, etc., on this case, I would really like fro someone to explain who pushed for the Commonwealth to unleash virtually everything in its arsenal against Huguley. It really seems out of character for the C'ville CA to do that, so why in this case??

Even though the Felony Murder charges are there for the jury to consider, the evidence that is publicly known is weak on both Burglary and Robbery -- Robbery for the reason stated in the story above -- plus the laptop was not worth $100 (calling a pawn shop owner who has to make nice with the police and local prosecutor to stay in business is not a particularly credible witness on valuation), and burglary because unless they find he entered to assault her, they shouldn't find burglary -- the evidence is not there that he entered for larceny. However, if this is a "hanging jury" as many of the commenters on The Hook hope, the law won't matter here.

Frank Speaker - yes! Clever defense attorneys know exactlywhat they are doing when choosing jurors. ITs an old trick still used today to find meak jurors easily pursuaded by stronger jurors.

C-ville Native - yes! Some lives are worth more. This is the sinister part of this case that seems to have intrigued everyone.

Skip D Yes! The job of the defense is to introduce reasonable doubt. Nothing more. You are correct, they did a reasonable job. Anything more simply hands more to the prosecution.

Yeardlywsmurdered! No. If that is the case than Mama Love needed "license" removed as well. George is a grown up.

Murder one AND felony murder and so on and so on and so on...
Throw the book at him and I hope he rots in jail for what he did with full intent. Whatever Georgee gets will never be enough for the beautiful life he stole

Well, we'll just have to wait and see won't we?

Can y'all imagine how difficult to prosecute this case would be for the prosecution if 'ole George has said nothing in that videotaped confession the morning after the murder. If he had just called his daddy and gotten a high profile out of town criminal defense attorney?

Nearly no way they get murder one if he had shut his mouth, but thankfully, he once again was an idiot that put his foot solidly in his mouth right after he put his foot through the door of that lovely girls apartment.

I hope he goes away for the rest of his natural life, but in my opinion, he will get ten years and be out in 8. RIP Yeardley

The only good that can come from something as tragic as this is if the next drunk girl calls the police because she followed this case, or the next drunk and violent psychopath's friends and family get the guy into rehab. And please, if you live in Charlottesville, or anywhere for that matter, always lock your door. If the front door of the APT downstairs had been locked, George would have a much harder time getting up to YL's front door. No one should tolerate violence of any kind in our little town. No one.

Yeah, you would think anybody intelligent enough to get into UVA would have sense enough not to talk to the police about anything without having an attorney present. Even if he believed the police were lying about her being dead, he still should have kept his mouth shut. I have always taught my children never to discuss one word of their defense if confronted by a cop.

? - Yes! There will always be drunk and batter incidences. Unforuntaly, we don't hear of them because they don't involve interesting parties.
? - Yes! Lock your doors - this case aside, criminals almost always enter through unocked doors.
Elle - Any life lost is a beautiful life. I would suggest reading the "other" domestic violence case in c-ville right now....

Gasbag: My understanding was that he technically was not under arrest when they initially took him to the station. Am I correct in this?

Gasbag! Yes. But...was he too drunk to know to keep his mouth shut?

Duke - Do you know what defense lawyers do? They create reasonable doubt for lesser sentences...its not like on tv.

Hook: Yes, I know what defense lawyers. I was referring to the handling of the witnesses. I don't watch television. ;-P

Duke - the secret sauce in this case was the selection of the jury pool. Everything else was a mirage,

Mr. Heilberg - share your proprietary secrets and show everyone why the jury selection determined the defense strategy before opening statements even bagan.

Hook: I see, I understand there is a doctor, a microbiologist from UVA's faculty, and one guy who's brother suffered alcohol problems on the jury. Is where you're going?

Hook: *is this where you're going? (sorry)

The families of domestic violence don't appreciate it when the name and image of their loved one is forever linked with their love one's predator. Everytime the image of Love is displayed it is forever associated wtih Huguely and visa versa. Sadly, Yeardley's name will soon be forgotten and the name that will live on will be Huguely. Does anyone know the name of the preppy killer victim or remember at the top of their tongue OJ simpson's wife?

Yes, Duke. It is indeed...

Observer - I understand your point about the laptop completely. I hope it will bump his sentence, as does the CA, but that's my bias talking. But I don't agree they are being overzealous - they are doing their job, which is to try to get the maximum sentence possible with the facts they have.

But the fact is no one really knows why he took the laptop. It's all theories. All we do know is that it most likely was not for the monetary value of the thing.

And his admission that it was "collateral" -- well, if we accept that, then guess what? You're not allowed to take things from people like that. And so he should be charged with something there - because he did take it.

Now if it should bump the murder charges up to a more serious level.... I hope it does! But it's all for the jury now!

Didn't Dr. Phil get his start as a defense jury specialist? I am thinking they only spend that kind of time and money in big money cases. I remember reading in trials that they try to pick certain personalites. There is a post that eludes to that in the beginning here. It would make sense that they would want people that seem easily manipulated but how do they know which way their "alpha dog" would lean?

domestic violence - Yes! I don't remember her name either!
waiting - Yes! The fixation of the laptop is by design! A brilliant defense ploy!
1 day - the defense team had how many months to prepare? Didn't it seem like they were late with their homework and handed in anything??? This is by design.

Domestic Violence: The "preppy murderer's" name was Robert Emmett Chambers and he was booted from each prep school he attended.

The preppie murderer's victim's name was Jennifer Levin.

Waiting, I disagree that the CA's job is to get the longest sentence possible -- especially if that means stretching his case to bump up the sentencing possibilities. In addition, there are ranges of prison time for each offense for a reason.

I get that a young woman is dead because George Hugely went to her apartment that fateful night. I get that she was someone's daughter, someone's sister, and many people's friend. Her life ended WAY too soon. I get that a drunken oaf hit her (though beyond that none of us know what happened in that apartment that night. Where is the evidence she was sleeping, for example. Strictly conjecture!.) He needs to pay a hefty price for his transgressions THAT NIGHT.

What I don't get is those who seem to be valuing the level of the loss here on the brightness of her smile and the twinkle in her lovely blue eyes. Being young and pretty is NOT a sentence multiplier under the law. If you believe EVERY LIFE taken must be paid for with a life, OK, you're being consistent in this case. But that is not the law.

1 day -- you are right about Dr. Phil; he was a jury consultant. Although I don't think he was limited to criminal defense. His firm did civil work -- where use of consultants is much more common because of the dollars that can be involved in such cases. It is much more involved than looking for a leader and the meek. The psychologists advise on background, personality types, prior experiences to look for or be avoided, education, profession -- whole host of things.

I am sure it is not a ground for appeal in VA, but I was shocked at how much the judge limited the questioning of the potential jurors.

Does Virginia institute the death penalty?

Observer - Yes on your last paragraph.

Duke -- yes, but only if the case is brought as a capital case. This one was not; so life (and there is no parole in VA) is the maximum that could be imposed.

Anyone remember this:

This case (the Huguely one), or at least the hype surrounding it, is comparable to the murder trial at Harvard cited above. My point is that college campuses aren't immune to crime.

Observer: There is no parole in Virginia just for murder or for all crimes?

Interesting new angles. There has to be a reason the defense seems so incompetent. I will admit it, I watch trials on tv and its really all I know about the legal system thankfully. I hate teo low it all down to Casey Anthony but didn't she choose her lowbrow attorney because the other chicks in jail all said he was good at getting their drug charges to go away? Is there a chance Huguely's parents just found an attorney by asking a friend who they recommend not really knowing his friend didn't give good advise? Also, would he have been better using a DC lawyer out of the so called loop.

For any crimes -- since layout 1995 or so. Used to be a sign posted to that effect at the DC/VA borders, kind of like "no cell phones" or "click-it or ticket."

For more info on the case Welington referred to, see:

I thought I read somewhere that on Wednesday there would be some kind of recapitulation or statements by the two sides prior to the deliberations. Yea? Nay? Anyone?

The defense was not incompetent at all. Look at the case they were given and still no one is certain what the result will be. Beautiful girl, asleep in bed and a jealous ex who previously said he should have killed her kicks down her locked door and beats her to death, then steals her laptop and lies to people about where he was.

In casey anthony, the prosecutor did a poor job (IMO because the cameras in the courthouse (which never should be allowed) made him focus more on trying out for a future TV gig/book deal and making funny faces for the home audience than in getting a conviction. Plus, because of Florida's absurd sunshine laws, the nancy grace types who profit from murder were able to talk about the case for years and, by the time of trial, had put so much inadmissible info, speculation and theories out into the public domain that the jury was expecting a more interesting case than they got, and thus concluded that the prosecution had not got the story right.

Red: Perhaps it is the way the newsmedia has presented the closing arguments made by the defense that swayed my harsh opinion stated earlier on. After reading more of these posts, I have changed my decision.

Red - Yes, Yes!
Duke - Yes. The boy did it. The boy admitted it. How do we get boy the least sentence? 1) how we select jury and what we DON'T say at a jury trial.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's a hung jury. It will be really interesting to see how long they deliberate. And as someone mentioned above, given the complexity here, strong personalities can easily sway others - a la 12 Angry Men.

I think the felony murder thing is lame. It's pretty clear his intent was not to go there and steal her computer - either you think it was to kill her or to talk/confront her....I don't think anyone thinks it was to steal her computer. I understand the prosecutor charging him with that, as it's another means to an end....but I would throw that out right away if I was a juror. It is NOT like the Jayne McGowan case where they entered her home intending to steal her computer and shot her in the process.

To me, it comes down to second degree or voluntary manslaughter. There's really no telling what the jury's thinking on that.

I hope justice is served better than in the Alston/Sisk case. That was really a travesty, IMO.

Anybody remember the Glen Ridge, New Jersey rape trial when four well-to-do high school football players coerced a mentally handicapped girl into a basement, hit her with a baseball bat, and then proceeded to violate her with a broom handle? Well, the four boys were acquitted and then faced scathing reactions from the news media that their innocence was paid for. Additionally, Glen Ridge High School received much criticism for its condoning, if you like, of football culture.

With that said, I'm wondering why the prosecution didn't delve into what UVA lacrosse culture is like as it relates to the high level of drinking and the corruption of moral judgment.

As I predicted before the defense started it's case, given the "pro-prosecution" bent of nearly all of the news coverage in this case, coverage of the defense, especially on the Twitter feed, has not only been critical, it has been snarky. Like the detective on Dragnet, I'd prefer "just the facts" in reports represented to be "news." Columns, opinion Blogs, are fair game for opinion, if it is identified as such.

The coverage by Baltimore media has been particularly biased -- they should read Lloyd Snook's blog article on 2/9 --

kate: "IMO" = "In My Opinion" ? (I'm still learning Blogging 101)

Duke -- First, because that is not really relevant to the legal case -- beyond what they did put into evidence. And, also, from the testimony we heard, the women's teams behavior mirrored the men's. The CA did not want to sully the deceased anymore than needed to take the shock value of the behavior away from the defense.

Don't I get a "YES" mr. Hook Reader?
I don't think I am as learned as yall are on this but I do watch court tv and I hate nancy grace and am wondering when we pass a law to put her in front of a firing squat. She got real bad voice that I cant listen to. I think that the lawyer in the casey anthony trial was probably an embarrasent to trial lawyers because he didn't seem honest to me. I think this trial is probably how they mostly are in real life.
Do I hear a YES, mr. Hook Reader?

Observer - YES! You are correct. YL's reputation could have gone on trial here. Kudoos to the defense team. I would like to hear more from the author of the piece on his opinion regarding the defense. YES! The lacrosse culture is nothing more media hype it has nothing to do with the case itself.
Kate - YES! 12 angry men scenario is not too far fetched.

Observer - YES! You are correct. YL's reputation could have gone on trial here. Kudoos to the defense team. I would like to hear more from the author of the piece on his opinion regarding the defense. YES! The lacrosse culture is nothing more media hype it has nothing to do with the case itself.
Kate - YES! 12 angry men scenario is not too far fetched.

@Duke - yes, IMO = in my opinion.

@Observer - I agree with you. I thought Lloyd Snook's blog that you linked to was really accurate. Much of the coverage has made Yeardley into a saint and George into the devil. The truth lies somewhere in between for both, I'd venture. They were both parties to a toxic relationship that really seemed to go both ways. Of course she didn't deserve to die because of it, though.

I don't know if lawyers prefer made for TV trials or not. I am sure they go about preparing for them differently. It does seem to bring some sort of mockery especially with Johnny Cochran's :"if the glove don't fit you must acquit" which was obviously directed at a predominantly African American jury. I say Murder2nd based on the door.

@Hook Reader, no life is worth more than another, IMO.

@Kate - I totally agree and hope justice is served too but like others just am bracing myself.

YES! Jans Soering! The defense plays to the jury.
YES! Defense attorneys do not like televised trials.
I will return tomorrow!

So, when's the civil suit?

Observer/Kate/Cville Native - time for lunch hon, meet you back here tomorrow to discuss the verdict. Should be interesting.

who would be the players in the civil suit? George Huguely doesn't have money and it did not happen on UVA campus. Maybe the Greenbriar for over serving Huguely?

@Jens - I think it's pretty likely the Love family will sue Huguely for wrongful death. I would if I were them, especially if he's convicted on something less than Murder 2. We don't know if he has any money (he could have a trust fund, I don't know), but sometimes it's more to prove a point than to get money.

For instance, Walker Sisk's family only got $3600 from Andrew Alston in their wrongful death suit. Because Alston filed for bankruptcy, etc. But they said all along it wasn't about the money and was more about him admitting responsibility for their son's death.

Jans: Ah, good point. Clearly, I'm not a lawyer, disregard question.

Kate: Having followed the comments on the Washington Post's website and here, I think your prediction of a hung jury might be apt. So what happens if it is a hung jury? Will we have to wait two more years for the re-trial?

@Duke - I think so. I'm no lawyer....but I believe the prosecution would have the option for a retrial. And of course with such a high profile case, they would retry him. I am not sure how long it would take, but I doubt it would be quick. And I guess he would stay in jail until another trial? I know Phil Spector had a retrial, but that's the only recent one I can remember.

For Yeardley's family's sake, I hope that doesn't happen. It would be terrible to go through that twice. Hopefully he's found guilty of something...I guess it all depends on what the jurors are thinking and how persuasive some might be in changing the opinions of others.

I don't see a hung jury.

I am sorry Duke! I wasn't trying to be cynical. I If Huguely goes to prison he won't be making any money. I don't think they can touch a trust. In reading all the posts and various articles, it seems that the Love family doesn't really want this to define them. Because this trial was not televised it does have a "give me more" aura about it and I would think books would be in the future. Are you from Virginia? Do you know of the Haysom murders?

I bet Lifetime will make a movie "inspired by" this case. I am surprised they haven't made one about the Liz Seccuro case yet too.

Jans: No offence taken, I just thought about what you said and agreed with you. I am not from Virginia, Maryland. But I am familiar with the Haysom murders. How is it that Soering was eligible for parole in 2003 when the Commonwealth doesn't have parole?

Kate and Kate: Just read on ABC News that some legal experts thing Huguely could walk free by the end of the week (!) if found on a manslaughter conviction.

Kate Burg: You beat me to it! I was just thinking the same thing. They made a Lifetime "drama" based of the Glen Ridge Rape that came out in 1999. My bet is though, the "Casey Anthony Story" is slated first with Lindsay Lohan as $.02 on American "quality" entertainment...

New question: How did they find a jury in a small town like Charlottesville that wasn't familiar with the case?

That's a good question. I think most people had probably heard about the case, but said they hadn't formed an opinion on whether he had murdered her. I guess that's what they went for her - considering the defense pretty much admitted manslaughter in the opening.

observer - in no way shape or form do I believe that Love's life was more valuable than any other person, though I understand your point in terms of the media.

Observer: so regarding the overzealousness of the CA: would you really have them not pursue the theft of the laptop at all?
I mean, he admits to taking it. Who really cares why - the point is he took something of value from her. And he did that in conjunction with what turns out to be a murder. And it's up to the jury to decide what weight that will have.
I'd frankly think they were not doing their job if they just left that out.

The CA could have just brought a larceny charge. I wouldn't have a problem with that -- although if he really wants grand larceny, he should have gotten better evidence of the computer's value than he did. The way that was apparently handled by the CA, reenforces the my view that it was an afterthought.

The Felony Murder charge is what is excessive in this case. This is a very novel use of that charge. The standard use is in an armed robbery and the victim gets shot and killed. The prosecutor has no evidence of premeditation, but the legislature concluded that the act of robbing at gunpoint is so heinous and the likelihood someone will get killed is so great, the act warrants the same penalty as Murder 1. If there is a group involved in a robbery and someone gets killed in the course of it, FM is also used to charge those other than the gunman with Murder 1 -- as part of the "conspiracy to rob."

@Observer - are you familiar with the Jayne McGowan case? I believe that's what happened there, correct? Both assailants were charged with felony murder, although only one did the actual shooting. I think they're both sentenced to multiple life terms...and they deserve it.

Definitely a different case from this one though. As I said before, I don't think ANYONE thinks Huguely's intent in going to Love's apartment was to steal her computer.

Kate -- Just read and old Hook article on that case. Looks like the two perpetrators there we charged with Capital Murder (where the death penalty was on the table). Felony Murder -- was not listed as a charge. If that is correct, it reenforces my view on the charging in this case. Also according to The Hook, Quagiana was appointed to represent one of the defendants and Lloyd Snook, the other. I think this was the case Snook referred to in his Blog post regarding the correlation between emotion in the courtroom and sentences.

@Observer - yes, that is definitely the case that Snook was referring to in his blog.

Kate: Based off of the blogs from myriad sites on this case, "the laptop question" is still very much up for debate. I am with you, I don't think he had even the slightest criminal mental capacity of basing his premeditation, if any, on going over to Love's flat to cover his tracks, if you like. It was a move that my ex used to pull when we were in the "break-up, get back together phase: whereby she would leave a bracelet, a lighter, her pair of glasses, or some other memento as an excuse to come back over and restart the argument again. However, she, nor I, were prone to violent outbursts. I think he took the laptop just as his statement said: as collateral. He tossed it probably not even thinking about it.

Following up on Felony Murder -- where someone shoots someone else in the head in the course of a robbery, the premeditation/intention to kill is pretty readily inferred. I think that was the situation in the case of Jayne McGowen, Kate referenced.

If in that situation the facts showed the robbers were wielding guns and one went off in the course of a struggle, or discharged some other way than the robber pointing at the victim and pulling the trigger, that is when Felony Murder would come into play. Similarly, if one robber shot and the other stood by, the second robber might be charged with felony murder, even though he was not the trigger man.

observer - snook's blog was very interesting and brings a lot of issues to light.
Makes me not really have that much faith in the jury system - as far as sentencing goes, anyway. Seems like it would be better to get a software going (that would not know skin color and that would not have sympathy for the plaintiff or defendant either way -- only the facts would matter).
Because it looks like the greatest factor in this whole thing is how sympathetic they are to either the defendant or the plaintiff. The emotions, as Snook pointed out.
It will be very interesting to see how it all turns out.

It may be hung, on a few holding out for 1st.

One time we knew we had a hung jury and calculated just who was the one holding out for client. Came back is was 11 our client only one for guilty.

The case was later not brought back up and he was set free after bail was granted from a higher court, 3 years later the guilty person confessed.

The client is free today but has never been the same.

Juries are fickle.

The lap-top and door show a presence of mind before and after, you cannot UN-ring a bell.

You know what would be cool? They get one of those old-fashioned electric chairs, fasten it to the rotunda facing the TJ statue, they strap Fuguely into it and crank up the juice!

The whole town, all the students, the entire community could have a huge, "Fried Huguely" party! We could have a farmers market, arts and crafts, face-painting for the kids. THAT would be a good, cathartic time.

In response to meanwhile's sophomoric rant, I'm going to sign off and download some porn now...

meanwhile.... - wow, that was brutal!


I have been so impressed with the comments here and The Hook for allowing and encouraging such great people to voice opinions. Up to this point the people of C'ville no matter their view has showed an incredible civic level, that all of you should be so proud of.

That comment, is just unacceptable.

I agree that meanwhiles comment was a unacceptable but we all can agree there are probably those out there that would participate in such an event. Civilized societies have done just that in the past - remember the Romans and the Greeks? Heck, you can even say that of our society - death row inmates have witnesses and outside the prisons when the condemed are to die, crowds gather.

The difference here, meanwhile, is that the punishments he faces are not death. He just caused death.

@ Kate Burg...Regarding Jayne McGowan's murder, both of them did shoot her. One had shot her three times and the other once, with that one being the one shot that killed her.

NBC 29 had a detailed (and extremely graphic) account of what happened that night.

Ok, so how long do you all think it will take the jury to deliberate? I'm putting my money on all day.

For those interested. Here is a link to a copy of the indictment from the WVIR website. It is bare bones, as they usually are. But it does clarify the felony murder charge. The prosecution only alleged robbery as an underlying felony in the felony murder charge, so that is the only felony that can lead to a conviction of felony murder in this case.

@Duke of Wellington, I am not even going to guess, the jury is now 7 men and 5 women. I am not going to even venture to guess the verdict either. They could come back with innocent on all counts, after all GH5 did plead "not guilty".

Cville: I guess that's what Twitter is for. Apparently, the defense team was trailed by media.

Duke of Wellington February 21st, 2012 | 2:31pm

Jans: No offence taken, I just thought about what you said and agreed with you. I am not from Virginia, Maryland. But I am familiar with the Haysom murders. How is it that Soering was eligible for parole in 2003 when the Commonwealth doesn't have parole?

The legislature eliminated parole in 1995. Soring's crime and conviction predated that (mid 80s) so he is handled under the old rules.

For all of those making negative comments about C'ville Attorneys and our legal system, I have to say you must not get out in the world much. Having worked as a paralegal in C'ville, I can tell you the system works very well comparted to most. Some of you need to stop riding your intellectual high horse, get out from in front of your tv, step away from your cushey life style, and travel a bit. I have lived in the Virgin Islands for 8 years where petty theft is rampant, everyone is kin to each other, no one talks, and vigilante justice is very much alive. We are making progress, but there is much work to be done as I also find in many of the states as well. Be thankful to live in a city where you have the freedom to speak out without retribution and don't feel you have to deadbolt your doors every time you leave the house. That is not the case in many parts of our beloved USA.

I find the Huguely family member who thought it appropriate to bring a 10 year old girl to hear his sentence to be disturbing.