Release Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 4:00
Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Winston James Blanke, 53 years old, previously residing in the 1800 block of Castleton Court in Virginia Beach, Virginia pled guilty to Second Degree Murder. The plea agreement was accepted by Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick, and Blanke was formally sentenced to forty (40) years in the Department of Corrections with 17 years suspended, leaving 23 years to serve. The Commonwealth did not oppose Blanke’s penitentiary sentence being served in a facility that specializes in mental health care. Upon his release, Blanke will be placed on supervised probation and must continue mental health treatment and take all medications as prescribed. Further, he may have no contact with his family unless it is initiated by them.
Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that between February 7, 2011 and February 17, 2011, Winston James Blanke lived with his parents, James and Betty, in the City of Virginia Beach. On February 7, 2011, the victim, James Blanke, called the Virginia Beach Police to the house because of Winston’s behavior. Police responded, talked with Winston and James, and resolved the issue. On February 17, 2011, Betty Blanke called the police to report that Winston had killed James in their home. She reported that Winston had left the house and was fearful he would return and harm her, too. Police responded and found James Blanke’s body in the study.
Upon further investigation, police discovered a knife handle on the ground underneath where the body was found. During an autopsy, a seven-inch knife blade was recovered from inside the victim’s body. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be a stab wound to the back. During an interview with detectives, Winston Blanke admitted that he stabbed his father once then closed and locked the door to the study.
Winston Blanke has prior convictions in Virginia Beach for Assault and Battery, felony Hit and Run, and Destruction of a Vehicle. He has convictions in Norfolk for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Eluding Police.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine E. Orsini prosecuted this case. Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.