Triggerman rule; redefinition thereof, penalty. (SB961)

Introduced By

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Redefinition of the triggerman rule; penalty. Redefines the "triggerman rule," which currently provides that only the actual perpetrator of a capital murder is eligible for the death penalty and that accessories and principals in the second degree can be punished only as if guilty of first degree murder. This bill allows principals in the second degree and accessories before the fact to be charged as principals in the first degree in the cases of murder for hire, murder involving a continuing criminal enterprise, and terrorism. This bill allows, in all other cases of capital murder, a principal in the second degree to be tried as a principal in the first degree if he had the same intent to kill as the principal in the first degree. The bill allows an accessory before the fact to be tried as a principal in the first degree if he ordered or directed the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/12/2009Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/09 098147288
01/12/2009Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/13/2009Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/15/2009Impact statement from VCSC (SB961)
01/20/2009Impact statement from DPB (SB961)
01/21/2009Reported from Courts of Justice (8-Y 6-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
01/23/2009Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/26/2009Read second time and engrossed
01/27/2009Read third time and passed Senate (26-Y 14-N) (see vote tally)
01/27/2009Reconsideration of passage agreed to by Senate (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/27/2009Passed Senate (24-Y 16-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2009Placed on Calendar
02/05/2009Read first time
02/05/2009Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/20/2009Reported from Courts of Justice (17-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2009Read second time
02/25/2009Read third time
02/25/2009Passed House (74-Y 26-N)
02/25/2009VOTE: --- PASSAGE (74-Y 26-N) (see vote tally)
03/04/2009Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB961ER)
03/05/2009Signed by President
03/06/2009Signed by Speaker
03/12/2009Impact statement from DPB (SB961ER)
03/30/2009G Vetoed by Governor
04/07/2009Placed on Calendar
04/08/2009Motion to pass in enrolled form rejected (24-Y 16-N) (see vote tally)
04/08/2009Senate sustained Governor's veto


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 2 clips in all, totaling 23 minutes.


Anne writes:

Murder is wrong! in any and all circumstances. It does not matter who commits the murder -- the state or an individual. It is a violation of humanity -- mine and the person whose life is ended and all members of the human community. This bill seeks to create a justification for allowing the execution of a human being. I say NO! to murder, especially when it is done purposefully by the state in my name.

Nate writes:

this isnt right just because your fellow felon killed some guy doesnt mean you should die for it!