Kirkpatrick v. Commonwealth

In Kirkpatrick v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 269, 272, 176 S.E.2d 802, 805 (1970), the defendant was charged with aiding and abetting the May 20, 1968 robbery of a hotel clerk. See Kirkpatrick, 211 Va. at 269-70, 176 S.E.2d at 803. The robber had committed the crime using a sawed-off shotgun. The robber was subsequently apprehended, with the shotgun, in the defendant's hotel room, but the defendant denied any knowledge of the robber. See Kirkpatrick, 211 Va. at 270-72, 176 S.E.2d at 804-05. Over the defendant's objection, the Commonwealth presented evidence tending to prove that the defendant stole the shotgun from his former employer on the afternoon of May 19, 1968. See id. at 271, 176 S.E.2d at 804. In Kirkpatrick, the evidence proved that a robbery was committed using a sawed-off shotgun and that the robber was apprehended in Kirkpatrick's hotel room with the same shotgun in his possession. See 211 Va. at 270, 176 S.E.2d at 803. The Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed the trial judge's decision to allow the admission of evidence that Kirkpatrick had previously stolen the shotgun from his former employer. See id. at 276, 176 S.E.2d at 807-08. The Supreme Court upheld the admission of this evidence, holding that the evidence was "so intimately connected and blended with the main facts adduced in evidence, that they cannot be departed from with propriety; and there is no reason why the criminality of such intimate and connected circumstances, should exclude them, more than other facts apparently innocent." It is impossible from a fair reading of the evidence in this case to disassociate Kirkpatrick from the theft of the gun that was used in the robbery. Id. at 276, 176 S.E.2d at 807-08.