Former UVA Lacrosse player George Huguely has been convicted of murder in the second degree Thursday, with the jury recommending he serve 26 years in jail.
Huguely's victim, ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love's family released a statement earlier today in which they expressed deep regret at having lost the kind young woman, and spoke about turning to God for strength.
Her family said, "We dread looking back on the events of [the night Yeardley was killed] and pray for the strength to get through each day."
The family says that wounds have not healed over time, and the young woman's death still hangs heavily in their hearts each and every day. But they find some solace in knowing she has gone to a better place. Their statement said, "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 his world but we know that heaven has an angel like no other."
They closed by thanking those who have, and continue to support them, while praising their lost daughter and sister for her kindness of spirit. They said, "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."
Love and Huguely were both lacrosse players at the University of Virginia where they met. The two dated for two years. On May 2, 2010 a drunken Huguely kicked down Love's door. The two fought, and Huguely left while Love was bleeding, but still alive.
In a videotaped statement to police he did admit to being rough with her, saying "I may have grabbed her a little bit around the neck . . . but I never strangled her."
He added, "I never struck her" and claimed he "never hit her in the face."
In the video, he seemed genuinely surprised when a detective told him Yeardley Love was dead.
However, medical experts say Love died from blunt force trauma, combined with being suffocated with a pillow, according to The Washington Post.
The jury found Huguely guilty of second-degree murder and recommended 26 years in prison. The judge can accept that recommendation, or lower it, but cannot raise it.