Presiding Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire heard testimony in Charlottesville about prior violent behavior by Huguely before announcing the sentence. As he sentenced Huguely, Hogshire called the previous violence "a preview of the kind of violence Mr. Huguely is capable of under the influence of alcohol," The Washington Post reported.
Huguely, 24, was convicted Feb. 22 of fatally beating former girlfriend and fellow student and lacrosse player Yeardley Love, 22, in a drunken rage May 3, 2010. He spoke during the hearing, telling Love's family: "I'm so sorry for your loss. … I hope and pray that you find peace," the newspaper reported.
In her only public comment on the tragedy prior to Thursday's hearing, Sharon Love said: "My daughter was murdered almost two years ago at the University of Virginia by an out-of-control lacrosse player with a violent past. Our lives will never be the same."
The jury that convicted Huguely of second-degree murder also found him guilty of grand larceny for stealing Love's computer and recommended he be sentenced to 25 years on the murder charge and one year on the larceny charge.
Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., told police in a taped interview after waiving his Miranda rights he left Love bleeding after kicking a hole in her door to get into her bedroom, enraged after a day of golf and drinking that he'd heard she'd had a relationship with a University of North Carolina lacrosse player.
He admitted to police he "shook Love, and her head repeatedly hit the wall," an affidavit stated. But he said he didn't think he'd done anything that could have killed her.
Love's right eye was punched in and her brain was bruised by the force of blows, an autopsy indicated. A coroner said she died of blunt force trauma.
Huguely -- whose attorneys had asked for a 14-year sentence -- will have to serve at least 85 percent of his term under Virginia sentencing rules. He has been held in the Charlottesville jail since his May 4, 2010, arrest, which is expected to be credited to him, the Post said.
The 15-percent reduction would depend on Huguely's behavior and participation in educational and vocational programs, the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission says.
Virginia has not had parole since 1995.
Defense attorneys can appeal the sentencing after the judge's final order is entered.
Huguely had a prior arrest and pleaded guilty in a drunken encounter with a Lexington, Va., police officer during his junior year, court records indicate. The officer testified in court he had to subdue Huguely with a stun gun.
Huguely's family issued a statement saying they believe Yardley's death was accidental and they "love George and will always support him."
Love, who was from Cockeysville, Md., played lacrosse for four seasons at Virginia, after having played lacrosse and field hockey at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Md. That school will dedicate its new lacrosse, soccer and field hockey facility in her honor Sept. 9, the Post said.