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Retired Navy Captain's Alleged Plan To Kill Estranged Wife Backfires, And Now He's Paralyzed And Facing Prison Time

Authorities say Henry Frank Herbig IV meticulously plotted his wife's murder, but didn't account for the fact that his stepdaughter had a gun in her house.

By Gina Tron

A retired Navy captain and pilot is accused of methodically planning out his wife's murder so he wouldn't get caught, but what he couldn’t plan for was getting shot by his stepdaughter in the process.

Henry Frank Herbig IV, 65, and his wife, also 65, split up over the summer and she moved from their Florida home to Virginia Beach to live with her 31-year-old daughter – a home that police say could have become a murder scene but didn’t.

Virginia Beach Police were called to that home on the night of Sept. 8 after Herbig allegedly broke in and attacked both his wife and stepdaughter with a wrench, WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia reports. He allegedly attacked his stepdaughter first as she was taking a dog outside and then the attack continued inside the home. Herbig’s stepdaughter was able to get her hands on a gun in the home and shot him, an act that has been labeled self defense by investigators, the Virginian Pilot reports.

Henry Frank Herbig Pd

The shooting has left Herbig paralyzed below the waist, and he wore a brace around his neck for his mugshot. He was hospitalized for a week before he was brought to jail where he remains in a hospital bed. Because of his injuries, he appeared through video conference for his bond hearing on Wednesday, still sporting that neck brace, WTKR reports. After prosecutors called him dangerous and a flight risk, noting that he owns several houses and has connections to other pilots, the judge agreed to deny him bail.

Prosecutors said he meticulously plotted out his wife’s death. Investigators allegedly found a pre-murder checklist in his car following the attack, which listed off all the steps he took to kill his wife. It allegedly includes how he traveled from Florida to Virginia without his cellphone (to avoid detection), with a carful of gas cans (to avoid stopping for gas). He also allegedly avoided all tolls and only stopped at tiny mom and pop shops, according to WSET. At least one wig, along with garbage bags, duct tape, zip ties, a wooden baton, a firearm and a wrench (although it’s unclear if it's the same wrench used in the attack) were also allegedly discovered in his car.

Herbig has been charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and breaking into a home to commit a felony, according to online jail records. He has no prior criminal record and served in the Navy for three decades.

Both women, who have not been publicly named, were seriously hurt in the attack earlier this month, but they both survived.