Suspect in Dayton officer’s death must remain jailed, judge rules

A federal judge said in a ruling that he cannot be assured the community will be safe if a suspect in the death of Dayton Det. Jorge Del Rio is freed pending trial.

Lionel Combs III was denied his request to be released from jail by U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose. Combs is facing charges related to the November shooting death of Del Rio and could face the death penalty, according to the judge’s order filed this month.

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Combs is not accused of pulling the trigger and shooting Del Rio but is accused of maintaining a drug house where Del Rio was shot and where weapons and drugs were found. Prosecutors believe Nathan Goddard is responsible for pulling the trigger and killing Del Rio.

Combs’ attorney told the court that Combs has lived in Dayton his entire life, resided with his sons and has been employed for years. The defense also argued that Combs has a minimal criminal history with no prior felony convictions or crimes involving drugs or violence.

But that wasn’t enough for Rose.

“Although Defendant’s attributes offered can be viewed as positive, the court finds they do not rise to the degree that rebuts the presumption of detention,” Rose said in his order. “Additionally, the defendant Combs, asserting co-defendant Goddard has accepted responsibility for the actual shooting and the drugs found in the residence, argues the weight of the evidence against him is not strong. The court disagrees. As previously indicated, the circumstances in these offenses involve significant amounts of numerous drugs as well as numerous dangerous firearms, one of which resulted in the death of DEA Agent Del Rio.”

“The Court does find that the weight of the evidence of defendant’s dangerousness is substantial due to the nature and circumstances of the offenses, including the amount of drugs and weapons present and the death of a DEA task force officer,” the judge said. “In light of said presumption and considering the total nature and circumstances of the offenses charged, their seriousness, as well as what appears to be the weight of the evidence against Defendant, the Court finds there are no conditions or combination of conditions that would reasonably assure the appearance of Defendant as required and the safety of the community.”

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This is the second time the judge has denied a suspect in Del Rio’s death their release until their trials. Earlier, Cahke Cortner attempted to be freed, also saying that he wasn’t a danger to society.

The next court date in the case has not been set. The case has been deemed “complex” by Rose, meaning both prosecutors and the defense need extra time to prepare.

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