George Huguely Trial Jury Deliberations: Will George Huguely Go Free?

PHOTO: George Huguely VPlaySteve Helber/AP Photo
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On Wednesday, jurors in former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V's murder trial will begin deliberations to decide the 24-year-old's fate and two legal experts have told that it is possible that Huguely could be free by the end of the week.

Huguely faces six charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of former girlfriend Yeardley Love. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Though charged with first-degree murder, a Charlottesville, Va., judge gave jurors a menu of lesser charges to choose from: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. He could also be found not guilty.

Neither the prosecution nor the defense denies that Huguely was in Yeardley's room the night of her death and was involved in some altercation with her. They differ on the severity of the encounter and whether Huguely was directly and intentionally responsible for Love's death.

Depending on the jury's verdict, Huguely could be sentenced to anywhere from one day to life in prison.

Huguely has been in jail for about 21 months and could get credit for time served, so a sentencing of anywhere up to roughly 21 months could allow him to go free.

"If he were to be convicted for manslaughter, it is a possibility that he would be given a sentence that would mean he was out," Anne Coughlin, a professor of law at the University of Virginia, told "It's a very significantly reduced penalty when we compare it to the penalty for murder."

After closely following the trial, Coughlin believes that all four charges are "still on the table."

Charlottesville attorney Scott Goodman said it is nearly impossible to predict what the jurors will decide since they are the only ones who have seen all of the evidence, which includes emails, text messages and video that the public was not allowed to see.

"They saw the emails, the texts, the video," Goodman said. "Only those 12 people have seen it."

The jury is made up of 14 people: 12 main jurors and two alternates. There are seven women and seven men, ranging from their late 20s to early 50s.

Court will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday for the jury to being their deliberations. The two alternates will be released Wednesday morning.

Follow ABC News' Cleopatra Andreadis on Twitter for the latest on the trial.

Jurors could reach a verdict as early as Wednesday. If the verdict is guilty, the jurors will reconvene as early as Thursday for a sentencing hearing.

During a sentencing hearing, Huguely's parents will likely testify. They have stayed out of court for the duration of the trial so that they would be able to testify at the sentencing. The defense could also potentially call psych experts or other medical experts to testify on Huguely's behalf.

Following any final testimony, closing arguments will once again be delivered with prosecutors pleading for how much time they believe Huguely should served based on the convictions he receives.

The jury will then go back into deliberations to decide on a sentence to suggest to the judge. Virginia is one of only a handful of states in the U.S. that allows jurors to deliberate on the sentencing. The jurors will give their suggestion to the judge, who will ultimately have the final say.

Jury Options for George Huguely's Possible Convictions

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," Coughlin said.

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."

"The idea could be that he was enraged because of fights of the past, fights of that evening ... that he did lash out in a homicidal way," Coughlin said.

The jurors' final option, aside from a not guilty verdict, is involuntary manslaughter, the charge that Huguely's defense attorney said in opening statements should be the harshest outcome jurors should even consider.

"The question is whether he actually caused her death in the course of committing an unlawful act or if he behaved with some kind or recklessness," Coughlin said.