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A retired Navy captain is charged with attacking his wife and stepdaughter in Virginia Beach. He ended up paralyzed.

Chain-link fence at a jail. (Maxpexel/Released)

The 65-year-old Florida woman had been married to her husband for nearly 10 years when she filed for divorce this summer and moved to Virginia Beach to live with her daughter.

The two women were at their white, ranch-style home on Sept. 8 when court records say Henry Frank Herbig IV, a retired Navy captain and pilot from Florida, drove up here and severely beat them with a large wrench.

The attack began at about 9:30 p.m. after the woman’s 31-year-old daughter had walked out to the backyard with her dog, said a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.

The assault continued in the Pine Meadows house, off Dam Neck Road. That’s when Herbig’s stepdaughter got a gun and fired at the 65-year-old man, court records say, leaving him paralyzed below the waist.

“My husband heard a scream and then a gunshot,” the neighbor said. “Then we saw the older woman outside screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help!’”

All three were taken to the hospital for treatment. Herbig remained there for a week before being taken to the city jail, according to a spokeswoman. His mugshot shows him lying in bed with a brace around his neck.

Both women were seriously hurt, said Autumn Blackledge, a Florida attorney representing the older victim in her divorce case.

“She’s on the mend, but her injuries were extensive,” Blackledge said of her client. “It’s tremendously unfortunate.”

Investigators determined that Herbig’s stepdaughter acted in self defense when she shot him, so she won’t be charged. When reached by phone this week, she declined to discuss the incident.

Herbig, who lives in Pace, Fla., was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and breaking into a home to commit a felony. He has no prior criminal record, according to his court file. His attorney, Jeremiah “Jake” Denton IV, declined to comment.

Herbig’s military personnel record shows that he retired in 2012 after serving 30 years in the Navy. He received several awards and decorations during that time.

Online records show he was married once before. His first wife, Donna Vance-Herbig, a Norfolk native, died in 2008 after a long battle with breast cancer, according to an obituary in The Virginian-Pilot. The couple had been married for 25 years, the obituary said.

He married the Florida woman a year later, in December 2009, according to the divorce petition she filed in Santa Rosa County, Fla. The two were living in a spacious home outside of Pensacola when she moved out in June, online records show.

At a court hearing earlier this week, prosecutors asked the judge to deny the defense’s request for bond so that Herbig could be moved to a nursing facility for treatment.

Even though Herbig is unable to walk, they’re concerned because he has relatives who are also pilots and plenty of money to escape, court records show.

A doctor in charge of the jail’s infirmary testified that he can’t move below his waist, has limited use of his arms, is unable to feed himself and is at risk for bedsores. The jail will have to add more staff to its infirmary if he remains there, the doctor said.

Cheshire Eveleigh, a judge in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, denied the bond request, but told the defense she would reconsider if they’re able to find a secure treatment facility for Herbig.


© 2019 The Virginian-Pilot