Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Longtime inmate suspected in attack

25-year term served after knife murder

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - After serving almost 25 years in prison for murder, Oran Brumley tried to kill again, police say - and his intended victim was an elderly man who fought for his life, according to reports.

Brumley, a 53-year-old parolee released from prison in October, has been arrested on charges of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery of an 80-year-old man.

Brumley has a Municipal Court hearing Thursday; he has been in the Butler County Jail since city officers arrested him Friday on charges stemming from last month's knife attack on Hagen Combs in the 2600 block of Elmo Avenue.

Butler County court records show Brumley also was accused of using a knife in the 1977 murder of David W. Gibson at a Sycamore Street tavern, then called the Maples Inn. Then 26, Brumley claimed he defended himself against an attack with a bar stool and insisted, "If I had a knife in my hand, someone put it there." Brumley was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life, state prison records show.

Brumley is accused of badly wounding Combs in an attack last month. Combs managed to get away and went to his next-door neighbor, Dan Boyd, 61, for help at about 1:30 a.m. May 20.

Combs was in his pajamas, "soaked with blood," when he knocked on Boyd's door and said, "I've been stabbed all over my body," Boyd said in a telephone interview Monday. According to Boyd, Combs had 27 wounds. "I don't know how he lasted," Boyd said. Boyd called 911.

Police said they found signs of a violent struggle, with blood smeared throughout Combs' residence. Combs' car keys and two blood-smeared pairs of his pants were found outside the house, with the pants' pockets turned inside-out, "as if they had been searched for property," a court document says.

Combs went to Fort Hamilton Hospital, then Middletown Regional Hospital. He was initially in intensive care under "heavy sedation," court records show. Boyd said he has visited Combs as he continues his recovery at a nursing home.

Boyd said Combs, a lifelong bachelor who lived alone, might have let Brumley into his house because he recognized him as someone who hung out at a neighbor's.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com

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