Esther Combs
Esther Combs

Capias issued for Joseph David Combs Jr. after his failure to attend hearing on vandalism charge


JOHNSON CITY : A Washington County general sessions judge issued a capias for Joseph David Combs Jr. after he failed to show up for a hearing Thursday on charges of vandalizing a home his family lived in during his parents' lengthy trial for abuse and kidnapping.

Combs, 22, is charged with vandalism that totaled more than $5,000. Judge John Kiener bound the case to a Washington County grand jury. Combs has a criminal court appearance set for Sept. 19.

He is the son of preacher Joe Combs and Evangeline Combs, who were convicted in March in Sullivan County for keeping a girl as their daughter but never legally adopting her. Combs Sr. was also convicted of raping the girl, and he and his wife were convicted of beating her.

Joe Combs had been the preacher at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bristol when he and his wife were charged in 1997. At that time, the family lived in the church's gymnasium. They were evicted from there for fire code violations and lived for a while in another home in Bristol.

They moved to Limestone the following year, but that house burned down after they started a fire in the woodstove. The second house they move to in that area belonged to Scott and Vicky Taylor, who have relocated to Richmond. They rented the house to the Combses after getting a referral from a real estate rental agency.

Vicky Taylor said Thursday that the Combs family never paid rent while living in her Washington County home. After Joe and Evangeline Combs were convicted, the Taylors evicted the family. The three oldest Combs children had 10 days to get out of the house, and when the Taylors returned after that time, the house had been vandalized, Vicky Taylor said.

She said the new hardwood floors were cut and gouged, and tools and furniture including an antique grandmother clock were missing. If convicted, David Combs faces two to four years in prison. He is apparently living in Greene County and working at the Freewill Baptist Home for Children.

Joe and Evangeline Combs have both filed motions seeking a new trial, but Circuit Court Judge Jerry Beck has not set a date to hear the motions.

Published June 29, 2000 Kingsport Times-News

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