Etheridge v. Commonwealth

In Etheridge v. Commonwealth, 210 Va. 328, 171 S.E.2d 190 (1969), the indictment alleged that the accused "did unlawfully, feloniously and maliciously shoot at or into a dwelling house, to-wit: the residence of Edna Harper located at Route 2, Box 224, Galbush Road, Chesapeake, Virginia," a violation of former Code 18.1-152. Id. at 329, 171 S.E.2d at 191. However, the evidence at trial established that Edna Harper, although present in the dwelling at the time of the offense, resided elsewhere. See id. In reversing the conviction, the Court concluded that the Commonwealth "chose to specify" the dwelling house "or residence involved as that of Edna Harper," a description of "that which was necessary to be alleged" that "cannot . . . be treated as surplusage." 210 Va. at 329-30, 171 S.E.2d at 191-92.