A juror who helped convict former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V of second degree murder and sentence him to 26 years in prison told ABC News exclusively that the jury "really believe justice was served."
"We worked hard to come to a fair, just verdict," juror Ian Glomski, a microbiology professor, told ABC News as he left the courtroom with fellow juror Serena Gruia. "We had a good team, educated, well-informed people. We all really believe justice was served. Everyone felt good about our decision."
Glomski indicated the panel considered the higher charge of first degree murder, but passed on that charge because there did not appear to be "premeditation" in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love in 2010. Conviction of first degree murder could have sent Huguely to prison for life.
When Glomski was interviewed to become a juror, he told the court that he enjoyed reading the New York Times and did not own a television. He said he was "essentially not following the case at all."
Late Wednesday night, the jury found Huguely, 24, guilty of second-degree murder in Love's death and guilty of grand larceny for stealing Love's laptop.
The jury recommended to Judge Edward Hogshire that Huguely be sentenced to 26 years in prison, 25 years for the murder charge and one year for the grand larceny charge.
Huguely's formal sentencing is scheduled for April 16. The judge could lower the jury's sentence, but he cannot increase it.
Both Huguely and Love were star lacrosse players in their senior year at the University of Virginia in May 2010 when Love was killed.
UVa President Teresa Sullivan released a statement today saying, "The conclusion of a trial like this may bring a momentary sense of justice or retribution, but our judicial system can never restore to a family what it has lost. Yeardley's family, teammates, sorority sisters and friends – indeed all of us at the university – continue to feel the loss of this promising young woman."
Sullivan also expressed her "sympathy and compassion" for both the Love and Huguely families, "as they face the future and their personal grief."
Sullivan was not the president of the university at the time of Love's death.
Huguely kept his head down in court as the jury's sentencing recommendation was read and remained stoic, but members of his family were visibly upset as they left the courthouse.
A little girl, one of Huguely's cousins, was crying hysterically and saying, "That's too much."
Huguely's mother was kept protected on the inside of the group and Huguely family members did not speak to the media.
Huguely's attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence, said the defense was "disappointed with this verdict but proud to represent George over the years."
"He has the support of a loving family, has displayed amazing resilience and courage, is hopeful and spiritual, and we look forward to some corrections on what happened here tonight," Lawrence said. "The courtroom saw his remorse during various times during the trial."
Sharon and Lexie Love, Yeardley Love's mother and sister, left the courthouse from a side exit and also did not speak to the media, though they released a written statement after the sentencing.
Statement from Yeardley Love's Family
"We dread looking back on the events of May 3, 2010 and pray for the strength to get through each day," they wrote. "Time has not made us miss Yeardley any less, in fact quite the opposite. It is truly devastating to wake up each day and realize that she is no longer here. Yeardley's contagious smile, kind spirit and gentle touch have left this world but we know that heaven has an angel like no other. We will continue to keep her spirit alive by performing works of kindness in her name. We would like to thank the commonwealth and particularly [prosecutor] Dave Chapman for his tireless efforts on our behalf.
"Our hearts burst with pride when we think of Yeardley's accomplishments but our hearts melt when we remember her kindness and grace. We have received letters from so many people telling us stories of her many acts of kindness. Intelligence and athletic ability are God given talents. Kindness and compassion are choices ... choices that Yeardley made every day without a second thought. We'd like to thank everyone for their kindness and respect of our privacy during such a difficult time."