A jury of seven men and five women in Charlottesville Wednesday determined Huguely didn't plan to kill Yeardley Love in May 2010 when he broke into her bedroom, shook her and wrestled with her, The Washington Post reported.
A roommate found the body of Love, 22, several hours later.
Prosecutors sought a first-degree murder conviction while Huguely's attorneys argued for manslaughter, a lesser charge.
The jury also found Huguely, 24, guilty of stealing Love's computer.
Jurors recommended Huguely be sentenced to 25 years in prison on the murder conviction and one year for grand larceny.
Circuit Judge Edward L. Hogshire can accept or reduce the sentence but can't increase it, the Post said.
"There's nothing to make good the terrible tragedy done to the Love family," Commonwealth's Attorney Warner Chapman said after Wednesday's session. "What we do in court is a rough approximation of justice. We hope they feel some solace."
Jurors deliberated about nine hours.
Authorities said Huguely savagely beat Love to death in a drunken rage in 2010 just weeks before she was to graduate from the university. Defense lawyers said Huguely and Love fought but he had left her bedroom thinking she was alive.