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Second life sentence handed down for Wyo. County man convicted of two murders

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UPDATE: A Wyoming County man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for a second time after a jury found him guilty of murder in September. 

The recommendation of life without mercy for Oscar Combs Sr. came last September when he was tried for the 2013 murder of Teresa Ford.

Combs Sr. was also found guilty by a Mercer County jury for the 2011 murder of Bo Butler. Remains of both Butler and Ford were found by State Police on Combs' property in 2014. 

In court Wednesday afternoon, Judge Warren McGraw ordered Combs' second life sentence to run consecutively with his first. 
 

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UPDATE: Oscar Combs Sr. was found guilty in the murder of Teresa Combs of Matoaka by a Wyoming County jury on Friday.

The jury came to the decision after deliberating for less than an hour. His sentencing will be set for a later date. 

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UPDATE: The fate of a Wyoming County man on trial for his second murder is now in the hands of jury. 

Oscar Combs Sr. stands accused  in the killing of Teresa Ford who disappeared from Matoaka in 2013. Her remains were uncovered by investigators near the residence where Combs Sr. was residing in 2014. 

WVVA News is learning that Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Cochrane and Combs' defense team have just finished closing arguments. A verdict could be reached at any hour.

Stay with WVVA News on-air and online for the latest. 

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) A Wyoming County man was on trial Tuesday for what prosecutors say is his second murder. 

Oscar Combs Sr. was found guilty in the 2011 murder of Bo Butler after his first trial in January of 2015. Prosecutors said both Oscar Combs Sr., and his son Oscar Combs Jr., pointed a gun at Butler's head in an attempt to rob the man, but it was Combs Jr. who pulled the trigger. Butler's body was dumped off Crumpler Road in Herndon. 

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Combs Jr. pleaded guilty to murder with a recommendation for mercy in sentencing. Combs' Sr. decided to take his case to trial, where he was sentenced to life in prison without mercy, plus consecutive prison terms of 80 years for robbery and one to five years for conspiracy. 

It was during a search warrant in the Butler investigation that West Virginia State Police uncovered a mattress soaked with blood in the Combs' home. But a blood test would later reveal it did not belong to Butler. 

During opening arguments for Combs' second murder trial on Tuesday, Cochrane said the blood belonged to Teresa Lynn Ford,  a Matoaka woman who disappeared in 2013.

Cochrane said the case against Combs Sr. started with a text between Combs Sr. and Ford on May 11, 2013. Short on cash, he said she had planned to sell Combs her 2003 Ford Winstar Van. That day, Ford had dropped off her son with a friend, obtained a duplicate vehicle title from the DMV, and set out to meet Combs. 

Later that night, Cochrane said the same friend who was watching Ford's son would receive a phone call from a person who appeared to be Ford. The call was from a cell phone belonging to Combs. 

"It indicated that Teresa Ford's plan was that she would remain there and return the next day. That's the last time anyone ever heard from Teresa Ford." 

The blood samples would prompt a second search warrant months later on the same property.

"They made a grisly discovery. State Police with cadaver dogs kicked up a human skull. There were small bones all around." Cochrane said Ford's remains were found on a hillside of the property where Combs Sr. had been residing. 

But how were investigators able to find a body on a property that just months earlier had been searched? Combs's defense attorneys Tim Lupardus and Thomas Evans have a theory; one that involves Combs Jr. 

"There were tips from someone, Junior maybe. Police had been up there to search with equipment. But no body was found," explained Lupardus during opening statements. 

And then, Lupardus said there was the question of another person possibly implicated in the crime, someone he said she had been warned about through a text message just before her disappearance. 

"The same van she had sold to somebody else in Lashmeet," said Lupardus. 

Combs Jr. is also expected to be brought in from prison to testify as the prosecution continues to make their case to the jury on Wednesday. 

For Combs to ever be able to walk free, two things would have to happen: He would first have to be found not guilty in the Ford case. Then, Mercer County Circuit Court or West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals would have to grant him a new trial on the Habeus petition for the Butler Murder/Robbery, which is rare. 

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