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Drug sale facts did not support felony murder conviction

(AP) — The Virginia Court of Appeals has reversed the felony murder conviction of a Danville man who sold the drug that led to a fatal overdose.

Timothy Woodard sold 10 to 15 ecstasy pills that caused Kayla Beame’s death in November 2010. Virginia law allows a felony murder conviction when a person unintentionally kills another during the commission of a felony.

Danville Circuit Judge Joseph Milam Jr. found there was enough connection between the drug sale and Beame’s death to support a conviction. The appeals court disagreed.

Beame bought the ecstasy outside a store and swallowed it about two hours later at a friend’s apartment. The appeals court said Tuesday that since the death didn’t occur at the same time and place as the drug deal, there was no felony murder.


  1. As appellate counsel for Timothy Woodard, I note that the issue ruled on by the Court of Appeals was not whether the “death” was at a different place and time, but whether the deceased person ingested the drugs at a different place and time, after the completed felony of the sale of the drug.

    Andrew G. Wiggin

  2. This is without research or extended thought, but wouldn’t the dealer also be guilty of being an accessory before the fact to the victim’s possession of the drug? If so, it appears that the elements of felony murder could have been met.

  3. A creative charge of ABTF (even if those elements could have been proved) to felonious possession would also fail to constitute an underlying offense for Felony Murder, for the same reasons that a seller is no longer committing that offense when they buyer later chooses to ingest the drug(s) in a different place and time. Further, that imaginative charge is barred by the same act statute.

    But you might send your resume to a number of prosecutor’s offices, and you might just fit right in.

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