(BROWNSTOWN) - 29-year-old Gerald Combs Jr., of Freetown, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and neglect of a dependent in the death 23-year-old Tabitha Brock, of Seymour.
Police says Combs killed Brock, staging a wreck and starting a fire in an attempt to cover up the cause of her death. He will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13th.
Voluntary manslaughter is a Class B felony, punishable by six to 20 years in prison. The other two charges are Class D felonies, punishable by six months to three years in prison.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Brock died sometime late May 10th or early May 11th . According to autopsy results, Brock was already dead before the fire began.
Seymour Police Officer Ian McPherson was the first to respond to what was thought to be a wreck reported around 2:59 a.m. May 11 where County Road 1075 East comes to a T with County Road 700 North, also known as Enos Road.
Upon arrival, McPherson found a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am engulfed in flames about 20 feet off the road.
Combs initially told Detective Craely David that he and Brock had been riding in a Pontiac Grand Am registered to Brock, and that Brock pulled out a match, lit it and "suddenly" caught fire. Combs says he got out of the car and attempted to pull Brock out before fleeing to the residence they shared.
During a later interview at Seymour Police Department, Combs told ISP Detective Jerry Gentry the incident that led to Brock's death occurred in the hallway near a bedroom of the couple's residence when he struck her throat with the side of his right hand.
Combs told Gentry the two had argued Thursday night when Brock threatened to tell law enforcement that Combs had engaged in illegal activities. He took her body from the residence and placed her in the front seat of the Pontiac Grand Am, Combs told police, drove to 700 North and 1075 East and started a fire in the car, burning Brock's remains.
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