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A plea deal may be possible for former University of Virginia student George Huguely, who was charged with first-degree murder in the violent death of his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, in May.
According to the Washington Examiner, Huguely probably will not face the death penalty and there is "growing consensus" that the case will settle before it goes to trial. (See commentary below from CBS Legal Analyst Jack Ford.)
The Examiner reports that the Huguely family wants to keep the case from going to court and that a settlement is "in the works," which could serve both sides:
"If [prosecutors] have a strong enough case, they will settle," said [Charlottesville defense attorney David L.] Heilberg, who is not involved in the case, but has practiced law in the area for three decades. "[Prosecutors] are getting what they want out of the case by agreement: Angling for Huguely to plead to something, whatever it might be, [for a sentence] not less than 40 years -- and then let a judge decide."
A trial could give the defense an opportunity to build a strong case arguing Huguely acted out of passion the night Love was killed, which could help lessen Huguely's charges to second-degree murder or manslaughter, Heilberg said.
Meanwhile, conflicting reports have emerged as to the exact cause of Love's death.
A private pathologist testified in a hearing yesterday that Love may have died from cardiac arrhythmia, possibly aggravated by the Adderall and alcohol in her system at her death. A bottle of Adderall prescribed to Love was found among her possessions at the crime scene. It was originally stated that Love died from blunt-force trauma to the head.
Huguely's lawyers are currently seeking access to Love's medical records.
Love was found dead in her apartment May 3. She and Huguely had a lengthy romantic history and had recently broken up. Since his May arrest, Huguely has been kept in solitary confinement at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
WATCH: CBS report