FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRY COUNTY. David V. Williams, Judge.
Harold E. Slate, II, for appellant.
Christopher P. Schandevel, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Beales, Decker and AtLee.
[66 Va.App. 126] RANDOLPH A. BEALES,
Following a jury trial, Lamont Anthony Woods (appellant) was convicted of one count of second-degree murder, which was reduced from the charge of first-degree murder, in violation of Code § 18.2-32. Appellant argues on appeal that the circuit court erred in denying a jury instruction on the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter. For the reasons below, we affirm the ruling of the circuit court.
[66 Va.App. 127] I. Background
" When reviewing a trial court's refusal to give a proffered jury instruction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the proponent of the instruction," in this case appellant. Commonwealth v. Vaughn, 263 Va. 31, 33, 557 S.E.2d 220, 222 (2002).
Toward the end of April 2012, appellant's relationship with his girlfriend, Takea Turner (Turner), seriously deteriorated. Appellant testified that he assumed that Turner and Lamar Ward (the victim) were romantically involved. Turner and appellant had been living together in Henry County until a few days before the killing. On April 27, 2012, Turner and her infant son (Baby Woods) stayed with her friend, Manesha Ward (Ward), at the home of Ward and her boyfriend, Dacha Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald). The victim, who is Ward's brother, also stayed at Ward's house that night. Appellant testified that on that same night, the victim and Turner repeatedly called and threatened appellant while he was " hanging out" with several people, including Kelly Trull (Trull), who corroborated this account. Appellant also testified that Fitzgerald and the victim came to appellant's house to threaten him the night before the shooting occurred -- and that appellant then ran away from them into the woods.
Details Surrounding the Murder
On the morning of April 28, 2012 (the day of the murder), Turner texted appellant some messages that he characterized as threatening. Ward, Fitzgerald, the victim, Turner, and Baby Woods then drove to and arrived at appellant's trailer in Ward's vehicle. Ward drove, Turner sat in the front passenger seat, ...