Man shot, paralyzed by stepdaughter after attacking estranged wife with wrench, police say

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - A Florida man who prosecutors allege drove 900 miles to Virginia to kill his estranged wife ended up paralyzed from the waist down after his stepdaughter shot him, authorities said.


Henry Frank Herbig IV, 65, of Pace, Florida, is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, Virginia Beach authorities said in a news release. He is being held without bond in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.

Herbig's mugshot shows him lying in a hospital bed with a brace around his neck.



Court records from Santa Rosa County, Florida, show that Herbig's wife, Cathy Herbig, filed for divorce in June. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Cathy Herbig moved to Virginia Beach to live with her 31-year-old daughter.


Virginia court records obtained by the Virginian-Pilot allege Henry Herbig, a retired, decorated U.S. Navy captain and pilot, drove to Virginia and broke into the women's home the night of Sept. 8. Henry Herbig was armed with a large wrench, the records said.


The newspaper reported that around 9:30 p.m., Herbig's stepdaughter went outside with her dog and was accosted by her stepfather. Herbig forced his way into the house, where the attack continued as he beat both women with a large wrench.


Neighbors witnessed part of the aftermath.


"My husband heard a scream and then a gunshot," one of the neighbors, who asked not to be identified, told the Virginian-Pilot. "Then we saw the older woman outside screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help!'"


Police officers responded to the scene and paramedics took Herbig, his estranged wife and his stepdaughter to the hospital for treatment, authorities said. The newspaper reported that Herbig remained hospitalized for a week before being booked into the jail.


Autumn Blackledge, the Florida lawyer representing Cathy Herbig in the couple's divorce, said both her client and her stepdaughter were seriously injured in the assault.


"She's on the mend, but her injuries were extensive," Blackledge said of Cathy Herbig. "It's tremendously unfortunate."


WTKR in Norfolk reported that Henry Herbig could not be transported to court for his Sept. 25 bond hearing. He appeared via video conference from his hospital bed in the jail infirmary.


Herbig's defense lawyer argued he should be released on bond due to his condition, for which the attorney claimed jail medical staff are unable to provide adequate care, WTKR reported.


According to the Virginian-Pilot, the doctor in charge of the jail's infirmary testified at Herbig's bond hearing that the facility would have to hire more staff to attend to the inmate's medical needs. The doctor said Herbig is paralyzed below the waist and has limited use of his arms.


He is unable to feed himself and is at risk for bedsores, the doctor said, according to the newspaper.


Prosecutors argued that, even though Herbig will likely never walk again, he remains a danger and a flight risk. According to the Virginian-Pilot and WTKR, they pointed to his considerable finances, his connection to pilots and his multiple homes, one of which is on the Canadian border.



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