In a police interrogation video viewed by jurors, Huguely said he simply wanted to discuss their sputtering, two-year relationship. Huguely admitted he may have shaken her but insisted he didn't grab her neck or punch her.
The prosecution painted a much more sinister scenario.
Huguely went to her apartment less than one week after he sent her a threatening email about her relationship with a North Carolina lacrosse player.
In the email, Huguely wrote that when he found out about the relationship, "I should have killed you."
In his closing arguments, defense attorney Francis McQ. Lawrence described Huguely as hulking, hard-drinking jock but no killer. He acknowledged Huguely had an unintended, accidental role in Love's death, arguing for a finding of involuntary manslaughter and a 10-year prison term.
"Where's the intent to kill?" he asked jurors. "Where's the intent to kill?"
Love's death had a statewide impact, leading to legislation that made it easier for possible abuse victims to get a restraining order in Virginia.
Last year, the state's General Assembly passed a law that expands criteria under which people can seek protective orders. The measure allows people in dating relationships or those who face threatening co-workers to more easily obtain such an order.
"Yeardley Love's death resulted in a great awakening for many individuals in Virginia and across the country about the danger that exists in violent dating relationships," Kristi VanAudenhove of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance said in a statement.
"It has also sparked conversations at colleges and universities about how to improve policies and services for students experiencing sexual and domestic violence," she said.
U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan extended her "sympathy and compassion" to the Huguely and Love families.
"Yeardley's family, teammates, sorority sisters and friends — indeed all of us at the University — continue to feel the loss of this promising young woman," Sullivan said in a statement.
Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sszkotakap
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