Commonwealth v. Ernest Steven Croft; 25 Years to Serve for Murder of Stepdaughter’s Boyfriend

Monday, April 28, 2014

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Ernest Steven Croft, 58 years old, who previously resided in the 2100 block of North Street in Portsmouth, Virginia, pled guilty to First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm today before Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan.  Judge Mahan, accepting a plea agreement, sentenced Croft to 48 years in the Department of Corrections with 23 years suspended leaving 25 years to serve. 


Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that in the early morning hours of August 30, 2013, Ernest Steven Croft went to the home of the victim, John Gancarz, located in the Chimney Hill area of Virginia Beach. Gancarz was Croft’s stepdaughter’s boyfriend. Croft waited outside for the victim to return home from work.  When the victim arrived and got out of his car, Croft shot him multiple times. 

Police responded to the scene and found the victim deceased in the front yard. While officers were securing the scene, Croft approached one of them and admitted to shooting Mr. Gancarz.  The shooting was unprovoked. Croft claimed he shot the victim in self-defense but all evidence at the scene refuted this.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Vivian F. Henderson and S. Mario Lorello.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.