Yeardley Love and George Huguely
08/30/2012 at 11:00 AM EDT
A Virginia judge sentenced George Huguely, a former University of Virginia lacrosse player, to 23 years in prison Thursday for the beating death
of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, in an argument at her off-campus apartment in 2010.
Huguely, who will turn 25 on Sept. 17, had faced a maximum of 26 years – the amount recommended by the jury – after being convicted
in February of second-degree murder.
His lawyers had appealed to Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire to reduce that to 14 years, offering testimonials from family and friends claiming his crime was out of character for him, The Washington Post
Love's mother Sharon and sister Lexie were in the courtroom for the sentencing. (Love's father died of cancer in 2003.)
Huguely had admitted to having a fight with Love, 22, that got physical, but denied he ever meant to kill her. He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of first-degree murder.
On Sept. 9, Love's high-school alma mater, Notre Dame Prep in Towson, Md., will dedicate a $1.2 million turf field in her honor.
Love's sister Lexie – who was three years older than Yeardley, but often mistaken for her sister – is also set to be married in September.