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Man accused of fatally shooting neighbor in Okeana ruled incompetent for trial

911 caller tells dispatcher Okeana shooter thought victim ‘was a Democrat.’
Austin Combs 2.PNG
Posted at 7:18 AM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 07:18:05-04

MORGAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A Morgan Twp. man accused of shooting and killing his neighbor in Okeana has been ruled incompetent for trial.

Austin Combs, 27, was booked into the Butler County Jail just hours after the fatal shooting on Nov. 5, 2022. A week later, a Butler County grand jury returned an indictment that upped the charge against Combs to aggravated murder with a gun specification.

Anthony Lee King, 43, died of multiple gunshot wounds in his yard that neighbored Combs’ residence.

On Monday, Combs was back in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a pretrial hearing. After reviewing evaluations from two forensic psychologists, Judge Michael Oster Jr. declared Combs incompetent to stand trial at this time.

With treatment, Combs may be restored to competency. The court, by law, has a year to restore him. Oster ordered Combs to be treated at Summit Behavioral Health in Cincinnati.

A hearing has been set for June to have Combs reassessed in court.

"Incompetent for trial" means the accused does not understand the charges and proceedings and cannot assist in their own defense.

Combs stabbed his father in 2017, according to prosecutors. Assistant county prosecutor Katie Pridemore stated that while Combs was not convicted of assault on his father, he admitted to the incident during questioning with police, and his father corroborated.

According to Butler County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Combs admitted to shooting King in the yard of his Chapel Road residence “several times with a revolver.”

Family members called 911 after hearing shots and finding King in the backyard unresponsive and bleeding. A family member told the dispatcher a neighbor had confronted King before about perceived political affiliation.

“My neighbor just shot my dad,” a male tells dispatchers.

The victim’s wife then told the dispatcher they were cutting grass and working in the yard when she came inside to let the dog out. That’s when she heard gunshots, she said.

“I look in the backyard and that man is walking away from my husband, and my husband is on the ground,” the woman said. “He has come over like four times confronting my husband because he thought he was a Democrat. Why, why … Please, I don’t understand.”

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