(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A jury found George Huguely V guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder and grand larceny in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.
The Charlottesville, Va., jury of five women and seven men reached their verdict after nine hours behind closed doors.
As the verdict was announced Huguely barely reacted, putting his hands to his face a few times near his chin. He looked over briefly at his family and friends in the front three rows of the courtroom.
Huguely, 24, was charged with killing Love in a drunken rage in 2010 just weeks before she was to graduate from the University of Virginia.
Wednesday the jury began hearing testimony immediately and subsequently recommended that Huguely receive a prison sentence of 26 years. 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 on April 16.
The family of Yeardley Love released the following statement following Huguely’s sentencing:
“We dread looking back on the events of May 3, 2010 and pray for the strength to get through each day.
Time has not made us miss Yeardley any less, in fact quite the opposite.
It is truly devastating to wake up each day and realize that she is no longer here. Yeardley’s contagious smile, kind spirit and gentle touch have left this world but we know that heaven has an angel like no other.
We will continue to keep her spirit alive by performing works of kindness in her name.
We would like to thank the Commonwealth and particularly Dave Chapman for his tireless efforts on our behalf.
Our hearts burst with pride when we think of Yeardley’s accomplishments but our hearts melt when we remember her kindness and grace.
We have received letters from so many people telling us stories of her many acts of kindness. Intelligence and athletic ability are God given talents.
Kindness and compassion are choices … choices that Yeardley made every day without a second thought. We’d like to thank everyone for their kindness and respect of our privacy during such a difficult time.”
Sharon & Lexie Love
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chris Isidore, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Marilia Brocchetto, Tim Hume and Claire Rigby, CNN
Hailey Middlebrook, Special to CNN