Suspect in Okeana neighbor’s death charged with assault while in treatment

911 caller tells dispatcher shooter thought victim ‘was a Democrat.’

HAMILTON — A Morgan Twp. man accused of shooting and killing his neighbor in Okeana and ruled incompetent for trial has been charged with assault while receiving treatment at a Hamilton County facility.

Austin Combs, 27, arrested 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.

In March, Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Oster Jr. declared Combs incompetent to stand trial after reviewing evaluations from two forensic psychologists.

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

Combs was deemed to be restorable with treatment. The court, by law, has a year to restore him to competency. Oster ordered Combs to be treated at Summit Behavioral Health in Cincinnati.

On July 4, Combs was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly assaulting a worker at Summit, according to Hamilton County Court records.

Combs allegedly hit the worker “several times about the head and shoulders,” according to court documents. He was arrested, then released on an own-recognizance bond. The first-degree misdemeanor case is pending in Hamilton Municipal Court.

On Monday, Combs’ reassessment was continued until July 26 when there will be a hearing to determine if the judge can force him to take medication, according to prosecutors.

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.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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 caller’s mother was sobbing in the background, and the dispatcher told them to stay inside and keep the doors locked.

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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