Murder suspect cleared for trial
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 11, 2013, 16:15
CHESTERFIELD — A man charged with shooting and killing two Chesterfield women in January, who was deemed incompetent to stand trial earlier this year, has been declared as “restored to competency to stand trial” by psychologists, and Chesterfield prosecutors will continue to make their case against him, according to court records.
Herbert C. Bland Jr., 24, is charged with the murders of Elizabeth Fassett, 42, who is believed to be his ex-girlfriend and Barbara Fassett, 65, Elizabeth’s mother, according to court documents. They were found shot to death in a home in the 5200 block of River Road near Ettrick.
He faces a total of four felony charges, two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Court records indicate that he is also suspected of murdering his father who was found shot to death in Dinwiddie later the same day, although there are no formal charges brought against Bland for the crime. Bland was also shot in the altercation, according to authorities.
A psychological evaluation written by Dr. Evan Nelson in February reported that Bland had a history of mental illness and his mother stated that he had previously received treatment for psychosis, and had stopped taking his medication prior to the January offense.
Due to an inability to be rational about his case, including “a complicated delusion involving witchcraft and conspiracies which had been controlling his life” and the belief that Elizabeth Fassett was not actually dead, Bland Jr. was determined to be incompetent to stand trial and was admitted to Central State Hospital for mental health treatment, according to the report.
Bland Jr. demonstrated noticeable improvement to his mental health during his several month stay at the hospital, as written in an evaluation by a psychologist at Central State Hospital.
According to this evaluation, Bland Jr. “was quite floridly psychotic” in May, but as of August 28, “the most obvious and intrusive symptoms of his mental illness have abated with treatment” and he had an adequate knowledge of the charges being brought against him.