Stevenson v. Com., No. 761500

Docket NºNo. 761500
Citation237 S.E.2d 779, 218 Va. 462
Case DateOctober 07, 1977
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

Page 779

237 S.E.2d 779
218 Va. 462
John Paul STEVENSON
v.
COMMONWEALTH of Virginia.
Record No. 761500.
Supreme Court of Virginia.
Oct. 7, 1977.

Page 780

[218 Va. 463] C. Willard Norwood, Richmond (Norwood & Norwood, Richmond, on brief), for plaintiff in error.

Alan Katz, Asst. Atty. Gen. (Anthony F. Troy, Atty. Gen., on brief), for defendant in error.

Before I'ANSON, C. J., and CARRICO, HARRISON, COCHRAN, HARMAN, POFF and COMPTON, JJ.

I'ANSON, Chief Justice.

On July 16, 1976, a jury found the defendant, John Paul Stevenson, guilty of murder of the second degree and fixed his punishment at confinement in the state penitentiary for a period of 10 years. He was sentenced accordingly.

We granted defendant a writ of error limited to the question whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a bloodstained shirt allegedly worn by the defendant on the day of the homicide and in allowing testimony concerning scientific tests run on the shirt.

The evidence, briefly stated, shows that approximately six o'clock in the afternoon of December 2, 1975, the partially clothed body of Lillian M. Keller was found on the bed in her apartment at the Holly Court Motel in Ashland. Her death resulted from multiple stab wounds. Mrs. Keller was manager of the motel, and she occupied an apartment adjoining the front office. Her apartment also adjoined another unit which was the residence of Howard Franklin Bittorf. There was a connecting door between the Keller apartment and the living quarters of Bittorf.

In the early morning hours of December 2, 1975, the defendant, who is Bittorf's brother-in-law and a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, entered Bittorf's apartment through an unlocked door and spent the rest of the night there. That day Stevenson, Bittorf, and Jeffrey A. Taylor, an occupant of another unit in the motel, spent the morning and early afternoon drinking and "riding around" in defendant's automobile.

Taylor testified that when they returned to Bittorf's apartment in the early afternoon, Mrs. Keller was engaged in cleaning the apartment. He left shortly thereafter and went to his room to rest. He said that he did not see the defendant and Bittorf anymore that day, but when he last saw the defendant he was wearing a long-sleeve buttoned shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

[218 Va. 464] There was evidence that defendant and Bittorf left the motel parking lot in defendant's car some time between 4:00 and 4:30 p. m. on the day the victim was found dead.

The police officers who searched the Keller and Bittorf apartments found the defendant's wallet on the floor near the bed in which the victim's body was lying. The wallet contained a Maryland operator's license issued to Stevenson. In Bittorf's apartment, the police found a bloodstained

Page 781

knife and towel. No identifiable fingerprints were found on the knife, and...

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54 practice notes
  • Pitt v. Com., Record No. 1015-97-1.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • January 5, 1999
    ...were hearsay because they were out-of-court assertions offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. See Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 464-65, 237 S.E.2d 779, 781 (1977) (defining hearsay). "As a general rule, hearsay evidence is incompetent and inadmissible," and &......
  • Richmond Newspapers, Inc v. Virginia, No. 79-243
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1980
    ...that a bloodstained shirt purportedly belonging to Stevenson had been improperly admitted into evidence. Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 237 S.E.2d 779. Stevenson was retried in the same court. This second trial ended in a mistrial on May 30, 1978, when a juror asked to be excused a......
  • Wimbish v. Com., Record No. 2873-06-3.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • April 8, 2008
    ...asserted therein, and thus resting for its value upon the credibility of the out-of-court asserter.'" Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 465, 237 S.E.2d 779, 781 (1977) (quoting McCormick on Evidence § 246 (2d ed. 1972)). Said differently, hearsay is "testimony given by a wit......
  • Brown v. Com., No. 0753-95-2
    • United States
    • July 8, 1997
    ...posed by the accused was not offered as an assertion of truth). The Virginia Supreme Court recognized in Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 237 S.E.2d 779 (1977), that an [25 Va.App. 179] assertion can be implied, in that case from a declarant's conduct, and that such an implied assert......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
54 cases
  • Richmond Newspapers, Inc v. Virginia, No. 79-243
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1980
    ...that a bloodstained shirt purportedly belonging to Stevenson had been improperly admitted into evidence. Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 237 S.E.2d 779. Stevenson was retried in the same court. This second trial ended in a mistrial on May 30, 1978, when a juror asked to be excused a......
  • Pitt v. Com., Record No. 1015-97-1.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • January 5, 1999
    ...were hearsay because they were out-of-court assertions offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. See Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 464-65, 237 S.E.2d 779, 781 (1977) (defining hearsay). "As a general rule, hearsay evidence is incompetent and inadmissible," and "[t]he part......
  • Wimbish v. Com., Record No. 2873-06-3.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • April 8, 2008
    ...matters asserted therein, and thus resting for its value upon the credibility of the out-of-court asserter.'" Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 465, 237 S.E.2d 779, 781 (1977) (quoting McCormick on Evidence § 246 (2d ed. 1972)). Said differently, hearsay is "testimony given by a witne......
  • Brown v. Com., No. 0753-95-2
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • July 8, 1997
    ...posed by the accused was not offered as an assertion of truth). The Virginia Supreme Court recognized in Stevenson v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 462, 237 S.E.2d 779 (1977), that an [25 Va.App. 179] assertion can be implied, in that case from a declarant's conduct, and that such an implied assert......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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