Harward v. Commonwealth

In Harward v. Commonwealth, 229 Va. 363, 330 S.E.2d 89 (1985), the defendant was convicted of capital murder, in violation of former Code 18.2-31(e), for the willful, deliberate and premeditated killing of a person during the commission of, or subsequent to, rape. See id. at 364, 330 S.E.2d at 90. The Supreme Court held that the statute "only prescribes the murder of a rape victim and cannot be extended to include the murder of another." Id. at 367, 330 S.E.2d at 91. The Court did not consider whether a defendant accused of the premeditated killing must also be the immediate perpetrator of the gradation or nexus crime. See id.