Sailor admits to killing man with a dumbbell during ‘crack bender’

Jason Jablonski (left) was charged with killing a man in Virginia Beach and Heather Totty (right) was charged with accessory after the fact. (Virginia Beach Police)

Gavin Stone

The Virginian-Pilot


Navy sailor Jason Jablonski pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday after being charged with murder in March in the killing of a man with a dumbbell during what was described in court documents as a “crack bender.”

In the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to not seek a sentence higher than the maximum of 10 years for voluntary manslaughter, a Class 5 felony.

Witnesses found the body of 45-year-old Herbert Bryant, of Virginia Beach, in the breezeway of the Eastwyck Village Apartments on the morning of March 11. An autopsy the following day showed the cause of death was a combination of asphyxia, blunt force trauma and a stab wound to the shoulder, according to the evidence submitted by the prosecution.

Jablonski, Bryant, and Heather Totty were smoking crack cocaine in a residence, according to court documents. Jablonski, 41, told detectives he initially engaged Bryant because he threw an ashtray at Totty and jumped on her, saying Bryant became “possessed” like a “demon.”

Jablonski, of Virginia Beach, admitted to punching Bryant two or three times in the head before ultimately using the dumbbell to choke him until he stopped moving. Totty told detectives she saw Jablonski hit Bryant in the head with the dumbbell.

A witness said Jablonski dragged Bryant’s body out of the apartment and not to not call the police. Totty admitted to cleaning the blood off the dumbbell and trying to clean up the blood in the apartment. Police later found Bryant’s driver’s license and wallet in a dumpster at the apartment complex, according to court documents.

Totty was found guilty in August and sentenced to 12 months in prison. Jablonski’s sentencing hearing will held Jan. 10.

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