Man indicted in Okeana neighbor homicide: 911 caller says ‘he thought he was a Democrat’

911 caller suggests crime was because of victim’s political beliefs.

Credit: Butler County Jail

Credit: Butler County Jail

A Morgan Twp. man has been by indicted for the alleged shooting and killing of his neighbor in Okeana earlier this month.

Austin Gene Combs, 26, was booked into the Butler County Jail on Nov. 5 and charged with murder. Bond was later set at $950,000.

Last week, a Butler County grand jury returned an indictment against Combs for aggravated murder with a gun specification.

Anthony Lee King, 43, died of multiple gunshot wounds on Nov. 5, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

The case has been assigned to Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster, but arraignment on the indicted charge has not yet been scheduled.

Combs admitted to shooting and killing King in the yard of his Chapel Road residence, according to court documents.

According to sheriff’s office investigators, Combs admitted to shooting King “several times with a revolver.”

Video was also obtained, confirming statements by Combs and witnesses, the court documents say. Combs is scheduled to be in Butler County Area I Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Combs was taken into custody after deputies were called for a shooting at 11:46 a.m. on Nov. 5 and found King dead outside, according to the sheriff’s office.

Family members called 911 after hearing shots and finding King in the backyard unresponsive and bleeding.

The 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 suspect, “just walked back onto his property,” he tells the dispatcher.

According to the son, the neighbor “has come over multiple times making statements. He’s insane.”

The caller’s mother is sobbing in the background, and the dispatcher tells them to stay inside and keep the doors locked.

The victim’s wife then tells 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 says, “He has come over like four times confronting my husband because he thought he was a Democrat. Why, why … Please, I don’t understand.”

Combs was taken into custody in a Jeep on Ohio 126, west of Chapel Road. Both Combs and his father were in the vehicle.

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