"Court documents indicate Combs has a history of psychological issues, and he told Wilson Tuesday he takes medication for depression and bipolar disorder. Since his arrest, a doctor who examined him judged that he was pretending to have mental problems, according to court records."
High Point man pleads guilty in death of neighbor
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
(Updated 8:15 am)
By High Point Enterprise
HIGH POINT (MCT) A High Point man was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his neighbor.
Terry Wayne Combs, 48, told detectives that Jesus commanded him to kill William Baker Borton III, whose body was found in the bedroom of his Druid Street home with 19 stab wounds and a severe laceration in the neck area just before Christmas 2007, prosecutors said.
While experts may have disagreed about his mental state, Superior Court Judge Edwin G. Wilson Jr. of Rockingham County found Combs to be competent Tuesday in imposing a minimum sentence of 20 years and 11 months and a maximum of 25 years and 11 months in prison.
Combs' true motivation for killing the 63-year-old Borton isn't clear, said Assistant District Attorney Brandon Goldsborough. He said Combs, who lived on the same block as the victim, had an ongoing dispute with Borton and had broken into the older man's home on a number of occasions.
The murder also might have stemmed from Combs' attempt to impress a female neighbor who had an altercation with Borton over his dogs shortly before his death, Goldsborough said.
Combs initially denied involvement in Borton's death when interviewed by police, but after his arrest, he told detectives he had gone to the victim's home, found him passed out in his bedroom and had blacked out after a "glowing image" of Jesus appeared telling him to kill Borton, Goldsborough said.
Court documents indicate Combs has a history of psychological issues, and he told Wilson Tuesday he takes medication for depression and bipolar disorder. Since his arrest, a doctor who examined him judged that he was pretending to have mental problems, according to court records.
Prosecutors initially charged Combs with first-degree murder and received permission to seek the death penalty before allowing him to plead guilty to the lesser charge. Police search warrants indicated a DNA sample was collected from Combs and seven knives were seized from his basement, but it was not disclosed in court whether investigators had forensic evidence linking him to the crime.
Combs was represented by two court-appointed attorneys from High Point, Randy Carroll and Randy Jones.