George Huguely, the subject of the June 2011 Washingtonian story, “Love and Death in Charlottesville,” is making a case that his conviction for the second-degree murder of Yeardley Love should be thrown out.
Defense attorneys argued before a three-judge panel in the Virginia state court of appeals in Richmond Wednesday that three errors were committed during his trial in 2012. Huguely, from a prominent family in Chevy Chase, Md., was found guilty of murdering Yeardley Love after breaking into her apartment in May, 2010. Both Huguely and Love, who had a tumultuous romance for years, were graduating seniors and lacrosse players at the University of Virginia.
After a dramatic trial in Charlottesville in February 2012, jurors convicted Huguely of grand larceny and second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 23 years in state prison.
Huguely’s defense team, led by former US solicitor general Paul Clement, will argue that he did not have an impartial jury. His lawyers will also contend that the trial should have been delayed when one of his defenders, Rhoda Quagliana, fell ill and missed some of the proceedings. They will also argue that the circuit court judge did not properly instruct the jury on the meaning of malice, which is crucial to distinguishing between manslaughter and murder.
Lawyers from Virginia’s attorney general’s office will argue against the granting of any changes to the original ruling.
Huguely, 26, is starting the second year of his sentence. He was recently moved to the River North Correctional Center, a newly opened jail for long-term prisoners in Independence, a small town in Virginia’s southwest corner, close to the North Carolina line.
The appeals panel can affirm the jury’s decision or reverse it and send the case back to circuit court for a new trial. The decision is expected in the middle of next year.