Haywood v. Commonwealth

In Haywood v. Commonwealth, 20 Va. App. 562, 458 S.E.2d 606 (1995), the defendant, who had been drinking heavily, had a verbal altercation with another boater at a park. The defendant became belligerent, took a baseball bat, and hit the hood of the other person's vehicle with the bat. The defendant then got into his truck and sped off toward the park exit. The victim promptly called the police. Three officers in separate vehicles tried to stop the defendant, who was traveling down the middle of the road at a high rate of speed. Two officers, individually, set up roadblocks by placing their vehicles in the defendant's path. Each time the defendant approached a roadblock, he failed to slow down. The officers had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The defendant was convicted of two counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer. The Court reversed the conviction, finding that the Commonwealth's evidence failed to exclude the reasonable hypothesis of innocence, that being the defendant was merely attempting to avoid apprehension. The Court noted, however, that "there was no evidence that the defendant ever swerved or aimed his truck to hit the police cars when they pulled out of his path or that he turned his truck around in an attempt to hit the police cars after passing by them." Id. at 567, 458 S.E.2d at 608-09. Code 18.2-31(6) provides that "the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a law-enforcement officer . . . when such killing is for the purpose of interfering with the performance of his official duties" shall constitute capital murder. "'"An attempt to commit a crime is composed of two elements: (1) the intent to commit it; (2) a direct, ineffectual act done towards its commission."'" Haywood, 20 Va. App. at 565, 458 S.E.2d at 607-08 "A person cannot be guilty of an attempt to commit murder unless he has a specific intent to kill." Id., 458 S.E.2d at 607.