A jury found George Huguely liable May 2 for $15 million in compensatory damages and other punitive damages in the murder of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love. Love’s mother Sharon Love and sister Lexie Love Hodges will each receive $7.5 million in damages.
Huguely, a former Virginia men’s lacrosse player, was charged with Love’s murder in May 2010. Huguely and Love dated on-and-off for two years — a relationship which was later revealed to have a history of abuse and physical violence. Huguely also had two convictions for resisting arrest and public drunkenness prior to Love’s murder.
Huguely was found guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny in February 2012 and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Second-degree murder is typically found in cases where there is no proof of premeditation, or in which murder is caused by the offender’s recklessness.
Huguely originally faced first-degree murder charges, but he was found not guilty of felony murder in the commission of a robbery, burglary, breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny and statutory burglary charges.
Seven jury members and 4 alternates were selected in the civil lawsuit against Huguely April 25. The lawsuit sought $29.5 million in compensatory damages to compensate Love’s family for the death of their daughter and sister, as well as $1 million in punitive damages for Sharon Love and Lexie Love Hodges to serve as an additional punishment for Huguely.
Huguely’s defense attorney Matthew Green said the defense acknowledges that Huguely’s assault resulted in Love’s death and agrees that Sharon Love should receive compensatory damages. However, Green said he did not think punitive damages were appropriate.
Huguely has made several unsuccessful attempts at appeal so far. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his first petition to overturn his conviction in 2015.
In March 2021, U.S. District Judge Thomas Cullen denied Huguely’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus and a certificate of appealability. Huguely alleged that he was denied his right to a free and fair trial when the trial still went forward after one of his attorneys fell ill.
Huguely then appealed Cullen’s decision to the Federal Court of Appeals, an attempt which three judges from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied. Cullen’s ruling means that Huguely has exhausted nearly all possibilities for serving a shorter sentence.
Huguely remains at the State Farm Enterprise Unit in Powhatan County and is scheduled to be released in 2030.
In the wake of Love’s death, her family founded One Love Foundation — an organization which seeks to end relationship abuse and provide young people with the tools to identify unhealthy relationships. The Virginia Lacrosse Alumni Network and the Virginia Athletics Foundation also established the Yeardley Reynolds Love Women’s Lacrosse Endowed Scholarship which is awarded to a member of the women’s lacrosse team every year.