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