Comments Off on Capital murder indictments returned in Combs’ case

A Smyth County grand jury meeting in regular session Tuesday handed down capital murder indictments in connection with the death of 18-year-old Nathan Cord Combs earlier this month.
Combs’ body was found around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 12, in the Comer’s Creek area of Smyth County, according to Sheriff David Bradley.
Daniel Brice Crouse, 38, and his son, Garrett Brice Crouse, 18, were each indicted on three counts of capital murder. The indictments said they unlawfully and feloniously killed Combs in the commission or attempted commission of a violation involving a Schedule I or II controlled substance, in the commission of abduction with intent to extort pecuniary benefit, and in the commission of robbery or attempted robbery.
The men, of the same Sugar Grove Highway address, were also each indicted on a count of abduction of Combs with intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit, a count of robbing Combs by “violence or putting him in fear of serious bodily harm,” a count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, a Schedule II Controlled Substance.
The elder Crouse was also indicted on a count is using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Ricky Joseph James, 24, of Marion was indicted on three counts of capital accessory to the killing of Combs. The indictments charge James acted as an accessory in the commission of a violation involving a Schedule I or II controlled substance, in the commission of abduction with intent to extort pecuniary benefit, and in the commission of robbery or attempted robbery.
James was also indicted on a count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, a count of robbery, and a count of abduction with intent to extort pecuniary benefit.
Jessica James Edwards, 27 of Groseclose, was indicted on three counts of felony abduction with intent to extort pecuniary benefit involving Combs, Dakota Jones and Jackie Barrett, the indictments said.
Two others remain charged by warrants in Smyth County General District Court, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Roy Evans. Mindie Mae Davidson, 32, also of the Crouse home, was charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit abduction, court records showed.
Michael Ray Brown Jr., 37, of Spring Street, Galax, is charged with four counts of abduction and four counts of conspiracy to commit abduction, according to records.
Sheriff’s investigator Chip Shuler said Davidson was “a paramour to Daniel Crouse.”
Search warrants in the case were sealed by court order, a deputy clerk of Smyth County Circuit Court said Monday.
The house where Combs and the others were reportedly kept looks vacant but for two satellite dishes. The porch is caving in, the siding is patched with shingles and the windows are broken and covered in plastic. The front door is padlocked from the outside and a screwdriver holds the storm door closed.
Shuler and Commonwealth’s Attorney Roy Evans declined to talk about motives in the incidents and Combs’ cause of death, but Evans confirmed these were not random incidents.
Sheriff Bradley said his office, Marion Police Department and Virginia State Police were following leads on the whereabouts of Combs when his body was found.
Combs’ body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for autopsy.
The case began with Marion Police Department taking a missing person report for Combs, who lived with his parents on Catron Street in Marion, on March 7, according to Bradley.
Bradley said a witness reported at Marion Police Department on March 10 that “foul play may be involved” in Combs’ disappearance.
Another witness the same day reported Combs and three others were “held against their will for approximately one hour at a location off Maywood Lane” in Marion, Bradley said.
MPD contacted the sheriff’s office on March 11 for assistance with the investigation.
On Saturday morning, March 12, Bradley released a statement requesting information about Combs’ whereabouts. That statement said Combs “has attention deficit disorder and according to his father has left home before, but would always call home or return soon thereafter.”
On Saturday evening, another statement from the sheriff said Combs’ body was found.
Court records showed Daniel Crouse was convicted in U.S. District Court in 2006 of distributing methamphetamine. In his plea deal, three other drug charges and two weapons charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 36 months of probation and fined $100.
The court documents showed Brown’s criminal record includes cocaine distribution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, habitual traffic offenses, using abusive language and reckless driving.

http://www.swvatoday.com/news/article/capital_murder_indictments_returned_in_combs_case/9621/

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