The young man convicted of killing Cockeysville native Yeardley Love will not spend as much time in prison as you might have heard.
Earlier this week a jury in Charlottesville, Virginia convicted George Huguely of 2nd murder and grand larceny, and recommended a sentence of 26 years in prison.
Virginia has no parole, but it does have a "Truth in Sentencing" law that automatically cuts sentences down to 85 percent of the original total. So Huguely's actual sentence would be about 22 years -- minus the nearly two years he's already served.
He's 24 right now, so he could be out of prison by about age 45.
Charlottesville attorney Scott Goodman, who followed the case, said 1st degree murder and the potential life-sentence that comes with it was a possibility.
“The jury definitely was considering it,” Goodman said. “Because as late as five hours into the deliberations the jury was talking about felony murder; they had a question about it. So 1st degree murder was definitely on the table well into the day.”
Still he said prosecutor Dave Chapman should be satisfied with the 2nd degree murder conviction; George's Huguely's defense team had been pushing for manslaughter, which would have brought only a sentence of 1 to 10 years.
The defense did not put up a fight during the sentencing phase of the trial, putting no witnesses on the stand -- no family members, no friends -- no one to support George Huguely.
“If they had put on evidence testifying about George Huguely's good character, the Commonwealth was prepared to put on a number of witnesses who would be able to testify to the contrary,” Goodman said.
One of those witnesses could have been a Virginia police officer who had charged Huguely with resisting arrest back in 2008.
“It was almost like checkmate,” Goodman said. “The commonwealth had the defense in checkmate. You move here, we've got you and you move the other way, we've got you. There's no move.”
At Huguely's sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for April 16, his defense team will ask Judge Edward Hogshire to impose a lighter sentence than the jury's 26-year recommendation. Goodman says that’s not likely to work.
“The defendant asked for the jury. And so the judge's normal response is "you're going to get what you asked for,” he said.
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