RICHMOND — Attorneys for a former University of Virginia lacrosse player convicted of beating his ex-girlfriend to death are asking the state appeals court for a new trial, arguing the evidence in the case didn’t support a second-degree murder conviction and citing a series of what they say are constitutional and procedural errors.
Lawyers for George W. Huguely V on Tuesday filed a petition with the Virginia Court of Appeals overhis conviction in the May 2010 slaying of 22-year-old women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love. The suburban Baltimore woman was found dead in her Charlottesville bedroom where Huguely confronted her after a day of heavy drinking. Last February, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
In the appeals petition, Huguely’s attorneys argued that the circuit court judge should have temporarily suspended the trial when one of Huguely’s lawyers became ill midway through and that prosecutors failed to disclose that Love’s family planned a $30 million civil suit against Huguely.
The attorneys also argue that the judge refused to sequester jurors despite intense pre-trial news accounts and delivered improper jury instructions.
In a statement, Huguely’s mother, Marta Murphy, said his family has faith in the legal system and looks forward to the appeals process ahead.
Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney David Chapman declined to comment on the filing. His office has 30 days to respond to the petition.
An attorney for the Love family also declined to comment on the petition.
Love’s mother, Sharon Love, has filed two lawsuits seeking nearly $60 million. One is aimed at Huguely while the other claims U.Va. and athletic department officials and coaches ignored Huguely’s drinking and violent behavior.
Huguely was arrested in Lexington in 2008 after a drunken confrontation with a police officer.
Love’s death has had a lasting impact in Virginia and at the university. It’s easier now for abuse victims in Virginia to get a restraining order and students must tell the university if they have ever been arrested. School officials and students also have tried to make the culture on campus one in which people look out for each other and aren’t afraid to report relationship violence.