(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The fate of accused murderer George Huguely V is in the hands of a Charlottesville, Va., jury. Deliberations began Wednesday morning.
Two female alternate jurors were dismissed by the judge after being chosen at random, leaving a final jury made up of five women and seven men. The alternates were permitted to leave, but remain under oath until the conclusion of the case.
Huguely, 24, faces six charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of former girlfriend Yeardley Love. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Over 10 days in court, jurors listened to testimony from nearly 60 witnesses and saw a video of Huguely’s police statement, graphic photos of Love’s battered body, and read text and email correspondence between the two.
Though charged with first-degree murder, the judge gave jurors a menu of lesser charges they can choose from: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. He could also be found not guilty.
Neither the prosecution nor the defense denies that Huguely was in Yeardley’s room the night of her death and was involved in an altercation with her. They differ on the severity of the encounter and whether Huguely was directly and intentionally responsible for Love’s death.
Over the course of the trial, prosecutors painted a portrait of Huguely as a violent and enraged man who savagely beat Love in her bedroom and left her there to die. Prosecutors claimed that Love died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The defense depicted Huguely as a troubled young man whose problems with alcohol spiraled out of control. They described Huguely and Love’s relationship as mutually tempestuous, with both of them jilting and betraying each other. They maintained that Huguely went to Love’s bedroom with the intention to talk to her and that, while things got heated and he pushed her around a bit, he did not do anything severe enough to kill her.
Depending on the jury’s verdict, Huguely could be sentenced to anywhere from one day to life in prison.
Huguely has been in jail for about 21 months and could get credit for time served, so a sentencing of anywhere up to roughly 21 months could allow him to go free.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
MJ Lee, CNN Newswire