Suspect’s mental health treatments stopped months before slayings

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 18:27:23-05

DINWIDDIE, Va. (WTVR) -- Court documents show the Dinwiddie man suspected of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, her mother and his own father earlier this week had undergone court-ordered psychiatric treatments.

However, the documents also show that those treatments were stopped months before the deadly shootings since Herbert Bland Jr. had fulfilled the required two years of psychological treatments ordered on Aug. 20, 2010.

Court records show that just two week before Bland and his father had got into a fight over a cigarette and bad TV reception. Herbert Bland Sr. said his son came into his bedroom demanding a cigarette and then threatened to kill him if he did not "get the lines off the TV."

Deputies said a fight ensued in which the father shot his son. That shooting was deemed self defense by the commonwealth and Bland Jr. was ordered to undergo mental treatment.

Bland's treatment stopped on Sept. 14, 2012, more than two years after the first shooting.

Mark O'Shea, a licensed clinical social worker, said that he thinks those treatments were cut short.

"Obviously he should not have stopped being treated, but the courts let him go," said O'Shea. "So when there's no system involvement. You can't keep him."

In fact, police said Bland murdered his ex-girlfriend and her mother in southern Chesterfield on Monday and then shot his dad to death inside their Dinwiddie home.

Some now question if that violence could have been prevented.

"We are in a situation where there's less mental health funding and emphasis on mental health than ever before," O'Shea said. "Despite the courts effectively trying to order treatment... efforts were made to change his behavior, but I think they underestimated the depth of pathology involved."