Compton v. Commonwealth

In Compton v. Commonwealth, 219 Va. 716, 250 S.E.2d 749 (1979), the accused claimed he had no reason to kill the decedent because they intended to marry. See 219 Va. at 729, 250 S.E.2d at 757. Noting that testimony, the Court expressly detailed in the following passage, the nexus between the disputed evidence and the theory of accident: During the trial the defendant referred to the affection which he and the deceased had for each other, their harmonious relationship, and their plans to marry and to build a home when his divorce became final. Love notes and a sentimental greeting card from the victim to the defendant were introduced by him to show their prior relationship and to negate any reason or motive that the defendant would have had to kill the deceased. This evidence was properly admitted as bearing upon the motive and intent of the defendant, and in support of his theory that the killing was accidental. For the same reason it was equally permissible for the Commonwealth to show that the relationship between the parties was not always an affectionate and calm one, but that there were turbulent episodes in which the conduct of the defendant toward the deceased was aggressive and threatening. Id.