Commonwealth v. Henry Frank Herbig IV; Guilty Plea, Prison Time for Man who Drove from Florida to Attack Estranged Wife, Step-Daughter

Monday, January 11, 2021

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced Henry Frank Herbig, IV, age 66, formerly of Pace, Florida, pled guilty and was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Les L. Lilley.  Herbig pled guilty to charges of Armed Burglary with the Intent to Commit Murder, Aggravated Malicious Wounding, and Malicious Wounding.  In accordance with a plea agreement, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison with thirty (30) years suspended, leaving fifteen (15) years to serve. 

Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that in the late evening hours of September 8, 2019, Henry Frank Herbig IV entered the backyard of a home occupied by his estranged wife, his step-daughter, and his step-daughter's dog.  A few months prior, Herbig's estranged wife initiated divorce proceedings and relocated from the house she shared with him in Florida to her daughter's home in Virginia Beach.

When he entered the backyard, Herbig stashed a backpack near a back garage door and approached the back door of the home.  The backpack contained various items including aluminum foil, zip ties, and duct tape.  Herbig was dressed all in black and wore a mask to conceal his face.  He waited outside the back door until his step-daughter opened it to let the dog out, then he struck her in the head with an object.  She was knocked to the ground and lost consciousness.  When his estranged wife noticed what was happening, she ran from him.  Herbig struck her, and she also fell to the ground.  He continued to strike her in the head and face and broke her hand as she tried to shield her face. 

Herbig's step-daughter regained consciousness and heard her mother screaming.  She retrieved a firearm and shot once at Herbig.  The bullet struck him in the back, and he dropped to the ground.  At this point, Herbig spoke, and his estranged wife immediately recognized the voice of her estranged husband.  Upon removal of his mask, the victims saw his face and recognized that he was the intruder.

Police and rescue personnel responded and found Herbig in the hallway suffering from a gunshot wound.  The bullet struck his spinal column, and he was immediately paralyzed from the diaphragm down.  Near Herbig, police located a large metal wrench and a wooden baton that were used to strike the victims.  They also located a loaded handgun in his pocket and a series of looped zip ties hanging on a belt loop.   

In Herbig's car, detectives located extensive notes that detailed his plan for driving from Florida to Virginia to kill the victims.  The plan mapped out his route, including specifics such as avoiding toll roads, stopping at "Mom and Pop" hotels that wouldn't keep extensive records, and using cash instead of cards to avoid leaving a trail.  It then outlined what supplies he would need to take with him into the home, and step-by-step how he would accomplish the abductions and murders.  It also detailed Herbig dumping the bodies in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach and then using chemicals to aid in decomposition. 

Both victims required medical attention for the injuries inflicted upon them by Herbig.  His estranged wife remained hospitalized for several days.  She required multiple surgeries and still has several scars and lingering vertigo as a result of her injuries. 

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Paul J. Powers and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Katharine D. Aicher prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​