Cris Ritchie — Editor
December 11, 2013
HAZARD – A Perry County man was released from jail last week after a jury determined he was not guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine inside a small shed in the Bonnyman community.
The trial of 58-year-old Richard Combs wrapped up Friday afternoon after several days of testimony in Perry Circuit Court. He was indicted on charges of making meth and possession of a controlled substance, along with one count of possession of meth precursors.
Combs was arrested in April after deputies with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office received a tip of a possible meth lab next to Combs’s residence just off of Highway 267 in Perry County. Once on the scene, deputies located a one-step lab and arrested Combs along with 50-year-old Daniel Combs. A third person, 36-year-old Larry Jason Combs, was later indicted on the same charges.
While the lab was located in a shed less than 50 feet from Richard Combs’s house, Combs testified on Friday that he had no knowledge of the lab’s existence inside the shed, in which his son Larry was living and which he noted is not actually on his property.
Defense attorney James Hampton also did not deny there was a meth lab or ingredients to make meth located inside the shed during his closing argument on Friday, but noted the lab did not belong to his client, nor did anything inside in the small building.
“There is absolutely no evidence in this case that Richard Combs possessed methamphetamine,” Hampton told the jury. “No one testified they found any in his house or any on him. No one testified that they found anything about manufacturing meth in his house or on him. They found it in that white shed.”
The jury returned its verdict of not guilty Friday afternoon, while Combs was released from the Kentucky River Regional Jail on the same day.
“I thank the judge who conducted a very fair trial, and the jury after having considered what evidence there was made a correct determination in their verdict of not guilty,” Hampton said this week.
The two remaining defendants, Larry Jason Combs and Daniel Combs, have yet to go to trial.