HAZARD – A Knott County man set to go on trial for murder this week could now serve up to eight years after pleading guilty to an amended charge Monday morning.
Donald Combs, 35, of Fisty, was charged in May 2012 after he was alleged to have been under the influence when he drove a vehicle over an embankment in Lost Creek, resulting in the death of a passenger in the car identified as 51-year-old Burly R. Combs, also of Fisty.
Donald Combs was later indicted on charges of murder, DUI, and driving on a DUI suspended license. He was scheduled for a jury trial on Monday when he instead pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office in Hazard. He additionally pleaded guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident and DUI, while the count alleging driving on a DUI suspended license was dismissed.
Combs made the plea in exchange for a sentence of eight years to serve.
Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen said the trial was in the jury selection phase Monday morning when Combs entered the plea, adding that once all of the evidence was presented the jury likely would have made a similar finding of guilt.
“We feel the result reached today with the plea was probably right on the money of what the jury would have given him once they heard everything,” Hansen said.
Defense attorney Brent Flowers was not immediately available for comment on Monday.
Combs is scheduled to appear in Perry Circuit Court on May 2 for sentencing.