George Huguely sentenced in murder

Updated: August 30, 2012, 9:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A former University of Virginia lacrosse player has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for the alcohol-fueled beating death of his ex-girlfriend.

George W. Huguely V was sentenced Thursday in Charlottesville for the slaying of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old suburban Baltimore woman who was found face down in her blood-soaked pillow on May 3, 2010.

[+] EnlargeGeorge Huguely
AP Photo/Steve HelberFormer Virginia lacrosse player George W. Huguely V is led into the courtroom before being sentenced to 23 years Thursday in the beating death of his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love.

The jury found the Chevy Chase, Md., man guilty in February of second-degree murder and grand larceny.

Asked by the judge if he wanted to address the court before sentencing, a shackled and tearful Huguely turned to Love's mother, Sharon Love, and sister Lexie and said, "I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you find peace," according to the Associated Press.

Love's family issued a statement after the sentence was announced.

"We would like to thank everyone who worked so tirelessly on Yeardley's behalf," the statement read.

"We find no joy in others' sorrow. We plan to work diligently through the One Love Foundation to try and prevent this from happening to another family."

Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire reduced the jury's recommended sentence by three years.

The Associated Press reported that in reducing Huguely's sentencing, Hogshire strayed from tradition. Virginia judges typically heed a jury's sentence recommendations.

Huguely's attorneys sought a sentence reduction to 14 years.

"Unlike Ms. Love, Mr. Huguely still has the majority of his life ahead of him," Hogshire told the court, according to The Associated Press.

Virginia has no parole, but Huguely could reduce his sentence by 15 percent if he earns credits by participating in prison programs and stays out of trouble. He also would be credited with time served, leaving him with 18 years in prison.

Authorities said the 24-year-old defendant left his on-again, off-again girlfriend to die after he kicked a hole in her bedroom door and physically confronted her about their sputtering two-year relationship.

Police said he had been drinking heavily that day.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.