Crime and punishment

Following the Huguely verdict, the University community faces its own questions of guilt and innocence

"Has there ever been a case of a student committing murder for the sake of robbery?" asked G.Z. Yeliseyev, a critic who could not believe Dostoevsky's novel "Crime and Punishment." The jury in the murder trial of George Huguely gave an answer last night, finding the former University student guilty of grand larceny and the second-degree murder of Yeardley Love. It was a murder ruled not premeditated, but done with malice and forethought. Huguely was also convicted for the unconnected robbery of a laptop, although there's another thing he stole which cannot be returned.

Huguely had a history with the law, and also with Love: turbulence, fights, emails filled with threats, an alleged choking incident two years ago this month and alcohol-fueled conflicts. We know these things because of testimony offered in the court by teammates, rivals and friends. Many of them spoke during the trial, though not looking at Huguely. But where were they to speak up before? These witnesses had been this close to the defendant previously, but even then had never really looked at him.

Though the trial lasted longer than the two weeks expected, all parties now have time for reflection, longer for some. Those close to the trial may feel relieved, and rightly so: The rumors, the narratives, the media will dissipate, ourselves included. But for most the verdict changes little. Things continue, and no square-pegged punishment ever fits the hole of a crime.

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