New details in triple murder case spanning two counties - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

New details in triple murder case spanning two counties

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -
Nearly a year after a triple murder spanning two counties, the man police say is responsible made an appearance in Chesterfield County Court.

Herbert Bland Jr. faces charges in Chesterfield for the shooting death of his estranged girlfriend, Elizabeth Fassett and her mother, Barbara Fassett.

Police have also stated that Bland is suspected for killing his own father at the family home in Dinwiddie after the Chesterfield shooting.

In a preliminary hearing, a detective testified about speaking to Bland Junior in the hospital, shortly after the reported incidents.

Detective Eric Hlava said Bland told him, "I wanted to take out three people causing problems in my life," reportedly referring to the three victims.

In that same interview, a detective testified that Bland also told police he was with his dad, Bland Senior, when he stopped by the Fassett home. The two reportedly stopped by a pawn shop and drove by the Fassett home on the way back. 
   
Bland reportedly told the detective that Barbara Fassett didn't want to let him inside and said the relationship with her daughter, Elizabeth, was over. 

That's when Bland reportedly shot both women in the face - Barbara first at the door, and then Elizabeth in a back room. 

Detective Hlava testified that both women were shot in the head and surrounded by blood at the scene.  He also stated that Bland Senior could have seen what was going on from the car outside the home. 

In court, Bland appeared to understand what was going on, but seemed very relaxed and slack-jawed. He only spoke once, acknowledging the judge as court started and staring at a family member as he was escorted back to a holding area.

"This is a really, really sad case of someone who clearly was not in control of all their faculties during all of this, and he's clearly suffering from some serious mental illness," said Bland's defense attorney, John Rockecharlie. 

Rockecharlie also said Bland is on medication now. 

A psych evaluation previously filed shows Bland was off his medication at the time of the murder and believed in witchcraft. It also pointed out that Bland believed he was psychically yoked to his estranged girlfriend Elizabeth and she was controlling his mind. 

Rockecharlie says he fully expects his client's mental health to be a point of contention in the case as it moves forward to trial.

"He doesn't understand really and truly what's happened," said Rockecharlie. "He's just now coming to grasp with the consequences of what happened. It's just like the detective testified to. He's just kind of flat. His affect is just completely flat and it's the result of his mental illness."

Dinwiddie has not pressed charges yet, but the Commonwealth's attorney was in court. She says she is tracking charges and court proceedings here before taking any steps in Dinwiddie. 

Bland's attorney says he will be seeing mental health experts throughout the court process. Right now, he is at Riverside Jail. All of Bland's charges were certified to a Grand Jury. He is due back in court in January.

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