The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 18, 2013

Bond denied for two charged in Hinton man's execution-style murder

State Police say the shooting was planned

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

PRINCETON — Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope denied bond Monday for a father and son facing charges of first-degree murder in the death of a Summers County man.

Both Oscar Combs Sr., 44, of Bud, and Oscar Combs Jr., 21, of Herndon, appeared in separate bond hearings. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said the state objected to bond in both cases due to the seriousness of the charge, and the possibility of both men being a flight risk.

James “Bo” Butler, 55, was shot execution-style in the back of his head, according to the complaint, filed by West Virginia State Police Cpl. A.S. Reed of the Hinton detachment.

His body was discovered two or three weeks later in Wyoming County.

Police arrested the father and son last week in connection with Butler’s death.

In the complaint, Reed said that Butler’s April 2011 murder man appeared to be planned.

On the morning of April 4, 2011, Combs Sr. expected Butler to have money since he had recently received a paycheck, Reed stated. The elder Combs and his son decided to rob Butler, according to the complaint, which also alleged that Combs Jr. told his father that he would kill Butler.

Prior to the shooting, Combs Sr. contacted Butler on the pretense that he had “clamps” that Butler needed, the complaint said.

The Combs men met Butler along W.Va. 10 on Herndon Mountain Road in Mercer County so that Butler could pick up the clamps. According to the complaint, Combs Sr. told police that he met with Butler and took the clamps from his own truck, placing them in Butler’s vehicle.

As Combs Sr. engaged Butler in conversation, the complaint stated that Combs Jr. sneaked up on Butler from behind and shot him in the back of the head, instantly killing him.

Butler’s supervisor contacted Butler’s family, alerting them that Butler — a model employee — had not shown up for work, according to police.

Butler’s sister then filed a missing persons complaint in Summers County. An intense search for Butler was conducted.

His body was discovered two or three weeks after the murder on Crumpler Road in Wyoming County, several miles from the Mercer-Wyoming line.

According to Cpl. R.A. Maddy, an investigator on the case, Combs Jr. first blamed his father for the shooting.

In a statement Combs Sr. made to police, he blamed his son.

The son later confessed that he had shot and killed Butler, said Maddy.

Both were charged with first-degree murder.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph contributed to this report.

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com