(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A jury recommended Wednesday that a judge sentence George Huguely V to 26 years in prison just hours after finding him guilty of second-degree murder in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, at the University of Virginia.
The jury recommended 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction and one year for a grand larceny conviction resulting from an allegation that Huguley stole Love’s laptop.
Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire is scheduled to formally sentence Huguely, 24, on April 16.
Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., had his head down in court as the sentence recommendation was announced.
The Charlottesville, Va., jury of five women and seven men reached its guilty verdicts after nine hours behind closed doors. The sentencing recommendation came about three hours later.
Huguely was accused of killing Love in a drunken rage in 2010 just weeks before she was to graduate from the University of Virginia. Both Huguely and Love were star lacrosse players on the university’s elite teams.
Two jurors gave ABC News their rationale for the verdict on their way out of the courthouse.
“We worked hard to come to a fair, just verdict,” one juror said. “We had a good team — educated, well-informed people. We all really believe justice was served. Everyone felt good about our decision.”
The juror said there did not appear to be “premeditation,” so they could not convict Huguely on the first-degree murder charge.
Members of the Huguely family were visibly upset as they left the courthouse. A little girl, one of Huguely’s cousins, was crying hysterically and saying, “That’s too much.”
Huguely’s mother was kept protected on the inside of the group and Huguely family members did not speak to the media.
Huguely’s attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence, said the defense was “disappointed with this verdict but proud to represent George over the years.”
“He has the support of a loving family, has displayed amazing resilience and courage, is hopeful and spiritual, and we look forward to some corrections on what happened here tonight,” Lawrence said.
Sharon and Lexie Love, Yeardley Love’s mother and sister, left the courthouse from a side exit and also did not speak to the media, though they released a written statement after the sentencing.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Rashard Rose, CNN