Is Conduct After Crime An Admissible Evidence ?
Evidence that the defendant may have committed crimes other than the one charged is generally inadmissible. See Kirkpatrick v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 269, 272, 176 S.E.2d 802, 805 (1970).
However, "acts or conduct of the defendant after the crime, which are not elements of the crimes charged, are admissible because they may tend to show a 'consciousness of guilt.' In such cases, the defendant has no right to sanitize the evidence." Hope v. Commonwealth, 10 Va. App. 381, 386, 392 S.E.2d 830, 834 (1990) (en banc) (evidence of flight can be considered as evidence of guilt).
"The fact-finder is entitled to all of the relevant and connected facts," including those which occurred before or after the crime charged, "even though they may show the defendant guilty of other offenses." Scott v. Commonwealth, 228 Va. 519, 526-27, 323 S.E.2d 572, 577 (1984).
In Hope v. Commonwealth, 10 Va. App. 381, 386, 392 S.E.2d 830, 834 (1990) the defendant fell while fleeing from the police.
They found a loaded gun near the spot where he fell.
The defendant possessed recently stolen property, but no evidence indicated that the burglary was accomplished by force.
However, the evidence which proved that he possessed a gun was admissible because the defendant's conduct "is an important factor in the estimate of the weight of circumstances which point to his guilt." Hope, 10 Va. App. at 385-86, 392 S.E.2d at 833.
The "'combined force of many concurrent and related circumstances, each insufficient in itself, may lead a reasonable mind irresistibly to a conclusion.'" Id. at 386, 392 S.E.2d at 833 (quoting Peoples v. Commonwealth, 147 Va. 692, 704, 137 S.E. 603, 606 (1927)).