George Huguely Trial: Jury Deliberations Begin Wednesday


Chapman read from the letter of apology Huguely sent to Love in February 2010 following an incident in which he had been caught holding a terrified Love in a choke hold. The letter was found in Love's desk drawer after her death.

"Alcohol is ruining my life," Chapman read from Huguely's letter. "I'm scared to know that I can get that drunk to the point where I cannot control how I act."

Jurors were shown the letter earlier in the trial, but its content had not been available to the public or media.

The prosecutor again addressed the email from his opening statement in which Huguely wrote to Love, "I should have killed you," after he found out that she had been with another man.

"These messages convey the depth of his anger and hard feeling toward Yeardley Love," Chapman said.

"Can you imagine the sight and sound and fury?" Chapman asked of the moment when Huguely kicked a hole through Love's bedroom door in order to get in. "She's freaked out at what's come through the door. First his foot. Then him."

The attorney said Huguely made no effort to help Love knowing that she was injured after their encounter and said he lied to his friends about where he had been because of what he had done. He said Huguely's acts were intentional, not accidental, and that "voluntary intoxication" is no defense.

Chapman described the neatness of Love's room and said, "This woman wouldn't lie willingly face down in the mess of a pool of blood."

"He left her facedown, hair covering her face," Chapman said. He asked the jurors to imagine what Love was feeling and showed photos of her battered face. He told them her severe injuries could not have come from one blow to the head.

The attorney questioned why, if Huguely hadn't beaten Love to a point where she was disabled, did she let him leave with her laptop or not call for help after he left?

"This wasn't battle royale. Over quick. Silenced quickly. Hand over mouth. Right forearm. Face mashed into floor," Chapman said.

Jury Options for George Huguely's Possible Convictions

Huguely was charged with first-degree murder, but jurors were also given the options of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

There are two theories under which Huguely could be found guilty of first-degree murder. The first is premeditation, that he had formed a purpose to kill her before doing so.

"The purpose doesn't have to be formed a long time [before], it could be formed quickly right before the killing, but they have to decide that his intent was to kill her," University of Virginia law professor Anne Coughlin told

The second charge that could lead jurors to a first-degree murder conviction, the felony murder count, does not involve premeditation.

"If they can prove the underlying felony, that he broke in to take her laptop and that he caused her death in the course of the felony, it could still be first-degree murder without premeditation," Coughlin said.

Jurors' could also decide on second-degree murder, a "more elusive category to define," according to Coughlin.

"It's a killing without premeditation but with malice," she said. "We're looking for some callousness or hardness of heart, which could be established by proof that he didn't intend to kill her but hurt her badly and then left her there to die."

Voluntary manslaughter could be the conviction if jurors viewed the alleged killing as a sudden act of "passion because of provocation."

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