CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Supreme Court has overturned a man’s 2017 murder conviction, citing errors by a trial judge.
In an opinion released Thursday, the court ordered a new trial for Oscar Combs Sr., who was convicted in the 2013 death of Teresa Lynn Ford of the Mercer County community of Matoaka.
The court said in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Hutchison that Combs did not receive a fair trial because now-retired Wyoming County Circuit Judge Warren McGraw gave improper instructions to the jury and allowed evidence to be submitted at trial from Combs’ murder trial in a separate, earlier case.
According to circuit court records, Ford had told a friend that she was going to meet Combs to sell him her van. Combs was seen driving Ford’s van in the days after her disappearance. He later sold the vehicle to a used car dealer.
Ford’s remains were found near Combs’ home in Wyoming County. Combs was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.